Home » Posts tagged 'Exxon'
Tag Archives: Exxon
“Human Beings Have No Right to Water” and other Words of Wisdom from Your Friendly Neighborhood Global Oligarch
“Human Beings Have No Right to Water” and other Words of Wisdom from Your Friendly Neighborhood Global Oligarch
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
In the 2005 documentary, We Feed the World, then-CEO of Nestlé, the world’s largest foodstuff corporation, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, shared some of his own views and ‘wisdom’ about the world and humanity. Brabeck believes that nature is not “good,” that there is nothing to worry about with GMO foods, that profits matter above all else, that people should work more, and that human beings do not have a right to water.
Today, he explained, “people believe that everything that comes from Nature is good,” marking a large change in perception, as previously, “we always learnt that Nature could be pitiless.” Humanity, Brabeck stated, “is now in the position of being able to provide some balance to Nature, but in spite of this we have something approaching a shibboleth that everything that comes from Nature is good.” He then referenced the “organic movement” as an example of this thinking, premising that “organic is best.” But rest assured, he corrected, “organic is not best.” In 15 years of GMO food consumption in the United States, “not one single case of illness has occurred.” In spite of this, he noted, “we’re all so uneasy about it in Europe, that something might happen to us.” This view, according to Brabeck, is “hypocrisy more than anything else.”
Water, Brabeck correctly pointed out, “is of course the most important raw material we have today in the world,” but added: “It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population. And there are two different opinions on the matter. The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right.” Brabeck elaborated on this “extreme” view: “That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.” The other view, and thus, the “less extreme” view, he explained, “says that water is a foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value. Personally I believe it’s better to give a foodstuff a value so that we’re all aware that it has its price, and then that one should take specific measures for the part of the population that has no access to this water, and there are many different possibilities there.” The biggest social responsibility of any CEO, Brabeck explained:
is to maintain and ensure the successful and profitable future of his enterprise. For only if we can ensure our continued, long term existence will we be in the position to actively participate in the solution of the problems that exist in the world. We’re in the position of being able to create jobs… If you want to create work, you have to work yourself, not as it was in the past where existing work was distributed. If you remember the main argument for the 35-hour week was that there was a certain amount of work and it would be better if we worked less and distributed the work amongst more people. That has proved quite clearly to be wrong. If you want to create more work you have to work more yourself. And with that we’ve got to create a positive image of the world for people, and I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be positive about the future. We’ve never had it so good, we’ve never had so much money, we’ve never been so healthy, we’ve never lived as long as we do today. We have everything we want and we still go around as if we were in mourning for something.
While watching a promotional video of a Nestlé factory in Japan, Brabeck commented, “You can see how modern these factories are; highly robotized, almost no people.” And of course, for someone claiming to be interested in creating jobs, there appears to be no glaring hypocrisy in praising factories with “almost no people.”
It’s important to note that this is not simply the personal view of some random corporate executive, but rather, that it reflects an institutional reality of corporations: the primary objective of a corporation – above all else – is to maximize short-term profits for shareholders. By definition, then, workers should work more and be paid less, the environment is only a concern so much as corporations have unhindered access to control and exploit the resources of the environment, and ultimately, it’s ‘good’ to replace workers with automation and robotics so that you don’t have to pay fewer or any workers, and thus, maximize profits. With this institutional – and ideological – structure (which was legally constructed by the state), concern for the environment, for water, for the world and for humanity can only be promoted if it can be used to advance corporate profits, or if it can be used for public relations purposes. Ultimately, it has to be hypocritical. A corporate executive cannot take an earnest concern in promoting the general welfare of the world, the environment, or humanity, because that it not the institutional function of a corporation, and no CEO that did such would be allowed to remain as CEO.
This is why it matters what Peter Brabeck thinks: he represents the type of individual – and the type of thinking – that is a product of and a requirement for running a successful multinational corporation, of the corporate culture itself. To the average person viewing his interview, it might come across as some sort of absurd tirade you’d expect from a Nightline interview with some infamous serial killer, if that killer had been put in charge of a multinational corporation:
People have a ‘right’ to water? What an absurd notion! Next thing you’ll say is that child labour is bad, polluting the environment is bad, or that people have some sort of ‘right’ to… life! Imagine the audacity! All that matters is ‘profits,’ and what a wonderful thing it would be to have less people and more profits! Water isn’t a right, it’s only a necessity, so naturally, it makes sense to privatize it so that large multinational corporations like Nestlé can own the world’s water and ensure that only those who can pay can drink. Problem solved!
Sadly, though intentionally satirical, this is the essential view of Brabeck and others like him. And disturbingly, Brabeck’s influence is not confined to the board of Nestlé. Brabeck became the CEO of Nestlé in 1997, a position he served until 2008, at which time he resigned as CEO but remained as chairman of the board of directors of Nestlé. Apart from Nestlé, Brabeck serves as vice chairman of the board of directors of L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics and ‘beauty’ company; vice chairman of the board of Credit Suisse Group, one of the world’s largest banks; and is a member of the board of directors of Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest oil and energy conglomerates.
He was also a former board member of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical conglomerates, Roche. Brabeck also serves as a member of the Foundation Board for the World Economic Forum (WEF), “the guardian of [the WEF’s] mission, values and brand… responsible for inspiring business and public confidence through an exemplary standard of governance.” Brabeck is also a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), a group of European corporate CEOs which directly advise and help steer policy for the European Union and its member countries. He has also attended meetings of the Bilderberg group, an annual forum of 130 corporate, banking, media, political and military elites from Western Europe and North America.
Thus, through his multiple board memberships on some of the largest corporations on earth, as well as his leadership and participation in some of the leading international think tanks, forums and business associations, Brabeck has unhindered access to political and other elites around the world. When he speaks, powerful people listen.
Brabeck has become an influential voice on issues of food and water, and not surprisingly so, considering he is chairman of the largest food service corporation on earth. Brabeck’s career goes back to when he was working for Nestlé in Chile in the early 1970s, when the left-leaning democratically-elected president Salvador Allende was “threatening to nationalize milk production, and Nestlé’s Chilean operations along with it.” A 1973 Chilean military coup – with the support of the CIA – put an end to that “threat” by bringing in the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who murdered thousands of Chileans and established a ‘national security state’, imposing harsh economic measures to promote the interests of elite corporate and financial interests (what later became known as ‘neoliberalism’).
In a 2009 article for Foreign Policy magazine, Brabeck declared: “Water is the new gold, and a few savvy countries and companies are already banking on it.” In a 2010 article for the Guardian, Brabeck wrote that, “[w]hile our collective attention has been focused on depleting supplies of fossil fuels, we have been largely ignoring the simple fact that, unless radical changes are made, we will run out of water first, and soon.” What the world needs, according to Brabeck, is “to set a price that more accurately values our most precious commodity,” and that, [t]he era of water at throwaway prices is coming to an end.” In other words, water should become increasingly expensive, according to Brabeck. Countries, he wrote, should recognize “that not all water use should be regarded as equal.”
In a discussion with the Wall Street Journal in 2011, Brabeck spoke against the use of biofuels – converting food into fuel – and suggested that this was the primary cause of increased food prices (though in reality, food price increases are primarily the result of speculation by major banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase). Brabeck noted the relationship between his business – food – and major geopolitical issues, stating: “What we call today the Arab Spring… really started as a protest against ever-increasing food prices.” One “solution,” he suggested, was to provide a “market” for water as “the best guidance that you can have.” If water was a ‘market’ product, it wouldn’t be wasted on growing food for fuel, but focus on food for consumption – and preferably (in his view), genetically modified foods. After all, he said, “if the market forces are there the investments are going to be made.” Brabeck suggested that the world could “feed nine billion people,” providing them with water and fuel, but only on the condition that “we let the market do its thing.”
Brabeck co-authored a 2011 article for the Wall Street Journal in which he stated that in order to provide “universal access to clean water, there is simply no other choice but to price water at a reasonable rate,” and that roughly 1.8 billion people on earth lack access to clean drinking water “because of poor water management and governance practices, and the lack of political will.” Brabeck’s job then, as chairman of Nestlé, is to help create the “political will” to make water into a modern “market” product.
Now before praising Brabeck for his ‘enlightened’ activism on the issue of water scarcity and providing the world’s poor with access to clean drinking water (which are very real and urgent issues needing attention), Brabeck himself has stressed that his interest in the issue of water has nothing to do with actually addressing these issues in a meaningful way, or for the benefit of the earth and humanity. No, his motivation is much more simple than this.
In a 2010 interview for BigThink, Brabeck noted: “If Nestlé and myself have become very vocal in the area of water, it was not because of any philanthropic idea, it was very simple: by analyzing… what is the single most important factor for the sustainability of Nestlé, water came as [the] number one subject.” This is what led Brabeck and Nestlé into the issue of water “sustainability,” he explained. “I think this is part of a company’s responsibility,” and added: “Now, if I was in a different industry, I would have a different subject, certainly, that I would be focusing on.”
Brabeck was asked if industries should “have a role in finding solutions to environmental issues that affect their business,” to which he replied: “Yes, because it is in the interest of our shareholders… If I want to convince my shareholders that this industry is a long-term sustainable industry, I have to ensure that all aspects that are vital for this company are sustainable… When I see, like in our case, that one of the aspects – which is water, which is needed in order to produce the raw materials for our company – if this is not sustainable, then my enterprise is not sustainable. So therefore I have to do something about it. So shareholder interest and societal interest are common.”
Thus, when Brabeck and Nestlé promote “water sustainability,” what they are really promoting is the sustainability of Nestlé’s access to and control over water resources. How is that best achieved? Well, since Nestlé is a large multinational corporation, the natural solution is to promote ‘market’ control of water, which means privatization and monopolization of the world’s water supply into a few corporate hands.
In a 2011 conversation with the editor of Time Magazine at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brabeck referred to a recent World Economic Forum meeting where the issue of “corporate social responsibility” was the main subject of discussion, when corporate executives “started to talk about [how] we have to give back to society,” Brabeck spoke up and stated: “I don’t feel that we have to give back to society, because we have not been stealing from society.” Brabeck explained to the Council on Foreign Relations that he felt such a concept was the purview of philanthropy, and “this was a problem for the CEO of any public company, because I personally believe that no CEO of a public company should be allowed to make philanthropy… I think anybody who does philanthropy should do it with his own money and not the money of the shareholders.” Engaging in corporate social responsibility, Brabeck explained, “was an additional cost.”
At the 2008 World Economic Forum, a consortium of corporations and international organizations formed the 2030 Water Resources Group, chaired by Peter Brabeck. It was established in order to “shape the agenda” for the discussion of water resources, and to create “new models for collaboration” between public and private enterprises. The governing council of the 2030 WRG is chaired by Brabeck and includes the executive vice president and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the chief business officer and managing director of the World Economic Forum, the president of the African Development Bank, the chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, the president of the Asian Development Bank, the director-general of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, among others.
At the World Water Forum in 2012 – an event largely attended by the global proponents of water privatization, Nestlé among their most enthusiastic supporters – Brabeck suggested that the 2030 Water Resources Group represents a “global public-private initiative” which could help in “providing tools and information on best practice” as well as “guidance and new policy ideas on water resource scarcity.”
Brabeck and Nestlé had been in talks with the Canadian provincial government of Alberta in planning for a potential “water exchange,” to – in the words of Maclean’s magazine – “turn water into money.” In 2012, the University of Alberta bestowed an honorary degree upon Peter Brabeck “for his work as a responsible steward for water around the world.” Protests were organized at the university to oppose the ‘honor,’ with a representative from the public interest group, the Council of Canadians, noting: “I’m afraid that the university is positioning themselves on the side of the commodifiers, the people who want to say that water is not a human right that everyone has the right to, but is just a product that can be bought and sold.” A professor at the university stated: “I’m ashamed at this point, about what the university is doing and I’m also very concerned about the way the president of the university has been demonizing people who oppose this.” As another U of A professor stated: “What Nestlé does is take what clean water there is in which poor people are relying on, bottle it and then sell it to wealthier people at an exorbitant profit.”
The Global Water Privatization Agenda
Water privatization is an extremely vicious operation, where the quality of – and access to – water resources diminishes or even vanishes, while the costs explode. When it comes to the privatization of water, there is no such thing as “competition” in how the word is generally interpreted: there are only a handful of global corporations that undertake massive water privatizations. The two most prominent are the French-based Suez Environment and Veolia Environment, but also include Thames Water, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, among others. For a world in which food has already been turned into a “market commodity” and has been “financialized,” leading to massive food price increases, hunger riots, and immense profits for a few corporations and banks, the prospect of water privatization is even more disturbing.
The agenda of water privatization is organized at the international level, largely promoted through the World Water Forum and the World Water Council. The World Water Council (WWC) was established in 1996 as a French-based non-profit organization with over 400 members from intergovernmental organizations, government agencies, corporations, corporate-dominated NGOs and environmental organizations, water companies, international organizations and academic institutions.
Every three years, the WWC hosts a World Water Forum, the first of which took place in 1997, and the 6th conference in 2012 was attended by thousands of participants from countries and institutions all over the world get together to decide the future of water, and of course, promote the privatization of this essential resource to human life. The 6th World Water Forum, hosted in Marseilles, France, was primarily sponsored by the French government and the World Water Council, but included a number of other contributors, including: the African Development Bank, African Union Commission, Arab Water Council, Asian Development Bank, the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Parliament, the European Water Association, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the Global Environment Facility, Inter-American Development Bank, Nature Conservancy, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization of American States (OAS), Oxfam, the World Bank, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Health Organization, the World Wildlife Fund; and a number of corporate sponsors, including: RioTinto Alcan, EDF, Suez Environment, Veolia, and HSBC. Clearly, they have human and environmental interests at heart.
The World Bank is a major promoter of water privatization, as much of its aid to ‘developing’ countries was earmarked for water privatization schemes which inevitably benefit major corporations, in co-operation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the U.S. Treasury. One of the first major water privatization schemed funded by the World Bank was in Argentina, for which the Bank “advised” the government of Argentina in 1991 on the bidding and contracting of the water concession, setting a model for what would be promoted around the world. The World Bank’s investment arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), loaned roughly $1 billion to the Argentine government for three water and sewage projects in the country, and even bought a 5% stake in the concession, thus becoming a part owner. When the concession for Buenos Aires was opened up, the French sent representatives from Veolia and Suez, which formed the consortium Aguas Argentinas, and of course, the costs for water services went up. Between 1993, when the contract with the French companies was signed, and 1997, the Aguas Argentinas consortium gained more influence with Argentine President Carlos Menem and his Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo, who would hold meetings with the president of Suez as well as the President of France, Jacques Chirac. By 2002, the water rates (cost of water) in Buenos Aires had increased by 177% since the beginning of the concession.
In the 1990s, the amount of World Bank water privatization projects increased ten-fold, with 31% of World Bank water supply and sanitation projects between 1990 and 2001 including conditions of private-sector involvement, despite the fact that the projects consistently failed in terms of providing cheaper and better water to larger areas. But of course, they were highly profitable for large corporations, so naturally, they continued to be promoted and supported (and subsidized).
One of the most notable examples of water privatization schemes was in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. In 1998, an IMF loan to Bolivia demanded conditions of “structural reform,” the selling off of “all remaining public enterprises,” including water. In 1999, the World Bank told the Bolivian government to end its subsidies for water services, and that same year, the government leased the Cochabamba Water System to a consortium of multinational corporations, Aguas del Tunari, which included the American corporation Bechtel. After granting the consortium a 40-year lease, the government passed a law which would make residents pay the full cost of water services. In January of 2000, protests in Cochabamba shut down the city for four days, striking and establishing roadblocks, mobilizing against the water price increases which doubled or tripled their water bills. Protests continued in February, met with riot police and tear gas, injuring 175 people.
By April, the protests began to spread to other Bolivian cities and rural communities, and during a “state of siege” (essentially martial law) declared by Bolivian president Hugo Banzer, a 17-year old boy, Victor Hugo Daza, was shot and killed by a Bolivian Army captain, who was trained as the U.S. military academy, the School of the Americas. As riot police continued to meet protesters with tear gas and live ammunition, more people were killed, and dozens more injured. On April 10, the government conceded to the people, ending the contract with the corporate consortium and granting the people to control their water system through a grassroots coalition led by the protest organizers.
Two days later, World Bank President James Wolfensohn stated that the people of Bolivia should pay for their water services. On August 6, 2001, the president of Bolivia resigned, and the Vice President Jorge Quiroga, a former IBM executive, was sworn in as the new president to serve the remainder of the term until August of 2002. Meanwhile, the water consortium, deeply offended at the prospect of people taking control of their own resources, attempted to take legal action against the government of Bolivia for violating the contract. Bechtel was seeking $25 million in compensation for its “losses,” while recording a yearly profit of $14 billion, whereas the national budget of Bolivia was a mere $2.7 billion. The situation ultimately led to a type of social revolution which brought to power the first indigenous Bolivian leader in the country’s history, Evo Morales.
This, of course, has not stopped the World Bank and IMF – and the imperial governments which finance them – from promoting water privatization around the world for the exclusive benefit of a handful of multinational corporations. The World Bank promotes water privatization across Africa in order to “ease the continent’s water crisis,” by making water more expensive and less accessible.
As the communications director of the World Bank in 2003, Paul Mitchell, explained, “Water is crucial to life – we have to get water to poor people,” adding: “There are a lot of myths about privatization.” I would agree. Though the myth that it ‘works’ is what I would propose, but Mitchell instead suggested that, “[p]rivate sector participation is simply to manage the asset to make it function for the people in the country.” Except that it doesn’t. But don’t worry, decreasing water standards, dismantling water distribution, and rapidly increasing the costs of water to the poorest regions on earth is good, according to Mitchell and the World Bank. He told the BBC that what the World Bank is most interested in is the “best way to get water to poor people.” Perhaps he misspoke and meant to say, “the best way to take water from poor people,” because that’s what actually happens.
In 2003, the World Bank funded a water privatization scheme in the country of Tanzania, supported by the British government, and granting the concession to a consortium called City Water, owned by the British company Biwater, which worked with a German engineering firm, Gauff, to provide water to the city of Dar es Salaam and the surrounding region. It was one of the most ambitious water privatization schemes in Africa, with $140 million in World Bank funding, and, wrote John Vidal in the Guardian, it “was intended to be a model for how the world’s poorest communities could be lifted out of poverty.”
The agreement included conditions for the consortium to install new pipelines for water distribution. The British government’s Department for International Development gave a 440,000-pound contract to the British neoliberal think tank, Adam Smith International, “to do public-relations work for the project.” Tanzania’s best-known gospel singer was hired to perform a pop song about the benefits of privatization, mentioning electricity, telephones, the ports, railways, and of course, water. Both the IMF and World Bank made the water scheme a condition for “aid” they gave to the country. Less than one year into the ten-year contract, the private consortium, City Water, stopped paying its monthly fee for leasing the government’s pipes and infrastructure provided by the public water company, Dawasa, while simultaneously insisting that its own fees be raised. An unpublished World Bank report even noted: “The primary assumption on the part of almost all involved, particularly on the donor side, was that it would be very hard, if not impossible, for the private operator [City Water] to perform worse than Dawasa. But that is what happened.” The World Bank as a whole, however, endorsed the program as “highly satisfactory,” and rightly so, because it was doing what it was intended to do: provide profits for private corporations at the expense of poor people.
By 2005, the company had not built any new pipes, it had not spent the meager investments it promised, and the water quality declined. As British government “aid” money was poured into privatization propaganda, a video was produced which included the phrase: “Our old industries are dry like crops and privatization brings the rain.” Actually, privatization attaches a price-tag to rain. Thus, in 2005, the government of Tanzania ended the contract with City Water, and arrested the three company executives, deporting them back to Britain. As is typical, the British company, Biwater, then began to file a lawsuit against the Tanzanian government for breach of contract, wanting to collect $20-25 million. A press release from Biwater at the time wrote: “We have been left with no choice… If a signal goes out that governments are free to expropriate foreign investments with impunity,” investors would flee, and this would, of course, “deal a massive blow to the development goals of Tanzania and other countries in Africa.”
The sixth World Water Forum in Marseilles in 2012 brought together some 19,000 participants, where the French Development Minister Henri de Raincourt proposed a “global water and environment management scheme,” adding: “The French government is not alone in its conviction that a global environment agency is needed more than ever.” A parallel conference was held – the Alternative World Water Forum – which featured critics of water privatization. Gustave Massiah, a representative of the anti-globalization group Attac, stated, “Should a global water fund be in control, giving concessions to multinational companies, then that’s not a solution for us. On the contrary, that would only add to the problems of the current system.”
Another member of Attac, Jacques Cambon, used to be the head of SAFEGE’s Africa branch, a subsidiary of the water conglomerate Suez. Cambon was critical of the idea of a global water fund, warning against centralization, and further explained that the World Bank “has almost always financed large-scale projects that were not in tune with local conditions.” Maria Theresa Lauron, a Philippine activist, shared the story of water privatization in the Philippines, saying, “Since 1997, prices went up by 450 to 800 percent… At the same time, the water quality has gone down. Many people get ill because of bad water; a year ago some 600 people died as a result of bacteria in the water because the private company didn’t do proper water checks.” But then, why would the company do such a thing? It’s not like it’s particularly profitable to be concerned with human welfare.
In Europe, the European Commission had been pushing water privatization as a condition for development funds between 2002 and 2010, specifically in several central and eastern European countries which were dependent upon EU grants. Since the European debt crisis, the European Commission had made water privatization a condition for Greece, Portugal, and Italy. Greece is privatizing its water companies, Portugal is being pressured to sell its national water company, Aguas do Portugal, and in Italy, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Commission were pushing water privatization, even though a national referendum in July of 2011 saw the people of Italy reject such a scheme by 95%.
In this context, among the global institutions and corporations of power and influence, it is perhaps less surprising to imagine the chairman of Nestlé suggesting that human beings having a “right” to water is rather “extreme.” And for a very simple reason: that’s not profitable for Nestlé, even though it might be good for humanity and the earth. It’s about priorities, and in our world, priorities are set by multinational corporations, banks, and global oligarchs. As Nestlé would have us think, corporate and social interests are not opposed, as corporations – through their ‘enlightened’ self-interest and profit-seeking motives – will almost accidentally make the world a better place. Now, while neoliberal orthodoxy functions on the basis of people simply accepting this premise without investigation (like any religious belief), perhaps it would be worth looking at Nestlé as an example for corporate benefaction for the world and humanity.
Nestlé’s Corporate Social Responsibility: Making the World Safe for Nestlé… and Incidentally Destroying the World
As a major multinational corporation, Nestlé has a proven track record of exploiting labour, destroying the environment, engaging in human rights violations, but of course – and most importantly – it makes big profits. In 2012, Nestlé was taking in major profits from ‘emerging markets’ in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. However, some emerging market profits began to slow down in 2013. This was partly the result of a horsemeat scandal which required companies like Nestlé to intensify the screening of their food products.
Less than a year prior, Nestlé was complaining that “over-regulation” of the food industry was “undermining individual responsibility,” which is another way of saying that responsibility for products and their safety should be passed from the producer to the consumer. In other words, if you’re stupid enough to buy Nestlé products, it’s your fault if you get diabetes or eat horsemeat, and therefore, it’s your responsibility, not the responsibility of Nestlé. Fair enough! We’re stupid enough to accept corporations ruling over us, therefore, what right do we have to complain about all the horrendous crimes and destruction they cause? A cynic could perhaps argue such a point.
One of Nestlé’s most famous PR problems was that of marketing artificial baby milk, which sprung to headlines in the 1970s following the publication of “The Baby Killer,” accusing the company of getting Third World mothers hooked on formula. As research was proving that breastfeeding was healthier, Nestlé marketed its baby formula as a way for women to ‘Westernize’ and join the modern world, handing out pamphlets and promotional samples, with companies hiring “sales girls in nurses’ uniforms (sometimes qualified, sometimes not)” in order to drop by homes and sell formula. Women tried to save money on the formula by diluting it, often times with contaminated water. As the London-based organization War on Want noted: “The results can be seen in the clinics and hospitals, the slums and graveyards of the Third World… Children whose bodies have wasted away until all that is left is a big head on top of the shriveled body of an old man.” An official with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) blamed baby formula for “a million infant deaths every year through malnutrition and diarrheal diseases.”
Mike Muller, the author of “The Baby Killer” back in 1974, wrote an article for the Guardian in 2013 in which he mentioned that he gave Peter Brabeck a “present” at the World Economic Forum, a signed copy of the report. The report had sparked a global boycott of Nestlé and the company responded with lawsuits.
Nestlé has also been implicated for its support of palm-oil plantations, which have led to increased deforestation and the destruction of orangutan habitats in Indonesia. A Greenpeace publication noted that, “at least 1500 orangutans died in 2006 as a result of deliberate attacks by plantation workers and loss of habitat due to the expansion of oil palm plantations.” A social media campaign was launched against Nestlé for its role in supporting palm oil plantations, deforestation, and the destruction of orangutan habitats and lives. The campaign pressured Nestlé to decrease its “deforestation footprint.”
As Nestlé has been expanding its presence in Africa, it has also aroused more controversy in its operations on the continent. Nestlé purchases one-tenth of the world’s cocoa, most of which comes from the Ivory Coast, where the company has been implicated in the use of child labour. In 2001, U.S. legislation required companies to engage in “self-regulation” which called for “slave free” labeling on all cocoa products. This “self regulation,” however, “failed to deliver” – imagine that! – as one study carried out by Tulane University with funding from the U.S. government revealed that roughly 2 million children were working on cocoa-related activities in both Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Even an internal audit carried out by the company found that Nestlé was guilty of “numerous” violations of child labour laws. Nestlé’s head of operations stated, “The use of child labor in our cocoa supply goes against everything we stand for.” So naturally, they will continue to use child labour.
Peter Brabeck stated that it’s “nearly impossible” to end the practice, and he compared the practice to that of farming in Switzerland: “You go to Switzerland… still today, in the month of September, schools have one week holiday so students can help in the wine harvesting… In those developing countries, this also happens,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations. While acknowledging that this “is basically child labor and slave labor in some African markets,” it is “a challenge which is not very easy to tackle,” noting that there is “a very fine edge” of what is acceptable regarding “child labor in [the] agricultural environment.” He added: “It’s almost natural.” Thus, Brabeck explained, “you have to look at it differently,” and that it was not the job of Nestlé to tell parents that their children can’t work on cocoa plantations/farms, “which is ridiculous,” he suggested: “But what we are saying is we will help you that your child has access for schooling.” So clearly there is no problem with using child slavery, just so long as the children get some schooling… presumably, in their ‘off-hours’ from slavery. Problem solved!
While Brabeck and Nestlé have made a big issue of water scarcity, which again, is an incredibly important issue, their solutions revolve around “pricing” water at a market value, and thus encouraging privatization. Indeed, a global water grab has been a defining feature of the past several years (coupled with a great global land grab), in which investors, countries, banks and corporations have been buying up vast tracts of land (primarily in sub-Saharan Africa) for virtually nothing, pushing off the populations which live off the land, taking all the resources, water, and clearing the land of towns and villages, to convert them into industrial agricultural plantations to develop food and other crops for export, while domestic populations are pushed deeper into poverty, hunger, and are deprived of access to water. Peter Brabeck has referred to the land grabs as really being about water: “For with the land comes the right to withdraw the water linked to it, in most countries essentially a freebie that increasingly could be seen as the most valuable part of the deal.” This, noted Brabeck, is “the great water grab.”
And of course, Nestlé would know something about water grabs, as it has become very good at implementing them. In past years, the company has been increasingly buying land where it is taking the fresh water resources, bottling them in plastic bottles and selling them to the public at exorbitant prices. In 2008, as Nestlé was planning to build a bottling water plant in McCloud, California, the Attorney General opposed the plan, noting: “It takes massive quantities of oil to produce plastic water bottles and to ship them in diesel trucks across the United States… Nestlé will face swift legal challenge if it does not fully evaluate the environmental impact of diverting millions of gallons of spring water from the McCloud River into billions of plastic water bottles.” Nestlé already operated roughly 50 springs across the country, and was acquiring more, such as a plan to draw roughly 65 million gallons of water from a spring in Colorado, despite fierce opposition to the deal.
Years of opposition to the plans of Nestlé in McCloud finally resulted in the company giving up on its efforts there. However, the company quickly moved on to finding new locations to take water and make a profit while destroying the environment (just an added bonus, of course). The corporation controls one-third of the U.S. market in bottled water, selling it as 70 different brand names, including Perrier, Arrowhead, Deer Park and Poland Spring. The two other large bottled water companies are Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, though Nestlé had earned a reputation “in targeting rural communities for spring water, a move that has earned it fierce opposition across the U.S. from towns worried about losing their precious water resources.” And water grabs by Nestlé as well as opposition continue to engulf towns and states and cities across the country, with one more recent case in Oregon.
Nestlé has aroused controversy for its relations with labour, exploiting farmers, pollution, and human rights violations, among many other things. Nestlé has been implicated in the kidnapping and murder of a union activist and employee of the company’s subsidiary in Colombia, with a judge demanding the prosecutor to “investigate leading managers of Nestle-Cicolac to clarify their likely involvement and/or planning of the murder of union leader Luciano Enrique Romero Molina.” In 2012, a Colombian trade union and a human rights group filed charges against Nestlé for negligence over the murder of their former employee Romero.
More recently, Nestlé has been found liable over spying on NGOs, with the company hiring a private security company to infiltrate an anti-globalization group, and while a judge ordered the company to pay compensation, a Nestlé spokesperson stated that, “incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles.” Just like child slavery, presumably. But not to worry, the spokesman said, “we will take appropriate action.”
Peter Brabeck, who it should be noted, also sits on the boards of Exxon, L’Oréal, and the banking giant Credit Suisse, warned in 2009 that the global economic crisis would be “very deep” and that, “this crisis will go on for a long period.” On top of that, the food crisis would be “getting worse” over time, hitting poor people the hardest. However, propping up the financial sector through massive bailouts was, in his view, “absolutely essential.” But not to worry, as banks are bailed out by governments, who hand the bill to the population, which pays for the crisis through reduced standards of living and exploitation (which we call “austerity” and “structural reform” measures), Nestlé has been able to adapt to a new market of impoverished people, selling cheaper products to more people who now have less money. And better yet, it’s been making massive profits. And remember, according to Brabeck, isn’t that all that really matters?
This is the world according to corporations. Unfortunately, while it creates enormous wealth, it is also leading to the inevitable extinction of our species, and possibly all life on earth. But that’s not a concern of corporations, so it doesn’t concern those who run corporations, who make the important decisions, and pressure and purchase our politicians.
I wonder… what would the world be like if people were able to make decisions?
There’s only one way to know.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, with a focus on studying the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power and resistance across a wide spectrum of social, political, economic, and historical spheres. He has been published in AlterNet, CounterPunch, Occupy.com, Truth-Out, RoarMag, and a number of other alternative media groups, and regularly does radio, Internet, and television interviews with both alternative and mainstream news outlets. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, Research Director of Occupy.com’s Global Power Project, and has a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.
Please consider making a donation to The People’s Book Project
Welcome to the Network of Global Corporate Control
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
The following is the first of a three-part series exclusive for Occupy.com
Part 1: Meet the Global Corporate “Supra-Government”
We live in a corporate culture, where most of us have worked or currently work for corporations, we spend our money at corporate venues, on corporate products, watch corporately-owned television shows and movies, listen to corporate-sponsored music; our modes of transportation, communication and recreation are corporately influenced or produced; our sports stadiums and movie theaters are named after car companies and global banks; our food is genetically altered by multinational conglomerates, our drinking water is brought to us by Coca-Cola, our news is brought to us by Pfizer, and our political leaders are brought to us by Exxon, Shell, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.
In this global corporate culture it is often difficult to take a step back and look at transnational corporations, beyond what they represent in our culture, and see that they are, in fact, totalitarian institutions with power being exercised from the top down, with no democratic accountability, legally bound to be interested only – and exclusively – in maximizing quarterly short-term profits, often to the detriment of the environment, labor, human rights, democracy, peace and the population as a whole.
In this first of a three-part series on the reaches of global corporate power, we’ll look specifically at the size and network influence of the world’s largest corporations. This is especially important given that the world’s population faces increasing challenges with over 1 billion people living in slums, billions more living in poverty, hunger and increasing starvation; with unemployment increasing, austerity and “adjustment” programs demanding that even those in the once-industrialized West dramatically reduce their living standards; as the environment is plundered and pillaged, and as governments give corporations more state welfare and subsidies while cutting welfare and social services for the poor.
Corporate culture creates, over time, a totalitarian culture as this dominant institution seeks to remake society in its own image – where people are punished and impoverished as corporations are supported, rewarded and empowered.
The network of global corporate control, in numbers
In the year 2000, of the world’s 100 largest economies, 51 were corporations, while only 49 were countries, based upon national GDP (gross domestic product) and corporate sales. Of the top 200 corporations in 2000, the United States had the largest share with 82, followed by Japan at 41, Germany at 20, and France at 17.
Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities in 2010, 42% were corporations; when looking at the top 150 economic entities, 58% were corporations. The largest corporation in 2010 was Wal-Mart, the 25th largest economic entity on earth, surpassed only by the 24 largest countries in the world, but with greater revenues than the GDP of 171 countries, placing it higher on the list than Norway and Iran.
Following Wal-Mart, the largest corporations in the world were: Royal Dutch Shell (larger than Austria, Argentina and South Africa), Exxon Mobil (larger than Thailand and Denmark), BP (larger than Greece, UAE, Venezuela and Colombia), followed by several other energy and automotive conglomerates.
In 2012, Fortune published its annual Global 500 list of the top 500 corporations in the world in 2011. The top 10 corporations in the world, as determined by total revenue, are: Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart Stores, BP, Sinopec Group, China National Petroleum, State Grid, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Toyota Motor.
Among some of the other top 100 are: Total (11), Gazprom (15), E.ON (16), ENI (17), ING Group (18), GM (19), General Electric (22), AXA (25), BNP Paribas (30), GDF Suez (33), Banco Santander (44), Bank of America (46), JP Morgan Chase (51), HSBC Holdings (53), Apple (55), IBM (57), Citigroup (60), Société Générale (67), Nestlé (71), Wells Fargo (80), Archer Daniels Midland (92), and Bank of China (93).
The 10 largest corporations in Canada include: Manulife Financial, Suncor Energy, Royal Bank of Canada, Power Corporation of Canada, George Weston, Magna International, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Onex, and Husky Energy.
The 10 largest corporations in Britain are: BP, HSBC Holdings, Tesco, Vodafone, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aviva, Rio Tinto Group, and Prudential.
The 10 largest conglomerates in France are: Total, AXA, BNP Paribas, GDF Suez, Carrefour, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Électricité de France, Peugeot, and Groupe BPCE.
The 10 largest conglomerates in Germany are: Volkswagen, E. ON, Daimler, Allianz, Siemens, BASF, BMW, Metro, Munich Re Group, and Deutsche Telekom.
The 10 largest conglomerates in the United States are: Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart Stores, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Motors, General Electric, Berkshire Hathaway, Fannie Mae, Ford Motor, and Hewlett-Packard.
In October of 2011, a scientific study about the global financial system was released, the first of its kind, undertaken by three complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. The conclusion of the study revealed what many theorists and observers have noted for years:
“An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.” As one of the researchers stated, “Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market… Our analysis is reality-based.” Using a database which listed 37 million companies and investors worldwide, the researchers studied all 43,060 trans-national corporations (TNCs), including the share ownerships linking them.
The mapping of “power” was done through the construction of a model showing which companies controlled other companies through shareholdings. The web of ownership revealed a core of 1,318 companies with ties to two or more other companies. This “core” was found to own roughly 80% of global revenues for the entire set of 43,000 TNCs.
And then came what the researchers referred to as the “super-entity” of 147 tightly-knit companies, which all own each other, and collectively own 40% of the total wealth in the entire network. One of the researchers noted, “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network.”
This network poses a huge risk to the global economy, noted the researchers: “If one [company] suffers distress… this propagates.” The study was undertaken with a data set established prior to the economic crisis, thus, as the financial crisis forced some banks to fail (such as Lehman Brothers) and others to merge (such as Merrill Lynch and Bank of America), the “super-entity” would now be even more connected, concentrated, and thus, dangerous for the economy.
The top 50 companies on the list of the “super-entity” included (as of 2007): Barclays Plc (1), Capital Group Companies Inc (2), FMR Corporation (3), AXA (4), State Street Corporation (5), JP Morgan Chase & Co. (6), UBS AG (9), Merrill Lynch & Co Inc (10), Deutsche Bank (12), Credit Suisse Group (14), Bank of New York Mellon Corp (16), Goldman Sachs Group (18), Morgan Stanley (21), Société Générale (24), Bank of America Corporation (25), Lloyds TSB Group (26), Lehman Brothers Holdings (34), Sun Life Financial (35), ING Groep (41), BNP Paribas (46), and several others.
In December of 2011, Roger Altman, the former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under the Clinton administration, wrote an article for the Financial Times in which he explained that financial markets were “acting like a global supra-government,” noting:
“They oust entrenched regimes where normal political processes could not do so. They force austerity, banking bail-outs and other major policy changes. Their influence dwarfs multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. Indeed, leaving aside unusable nuclear weapons, they have become the most powerful force on earth.”
Altman continued, explaining that when the power of this “global supra-government” is flexed, “the immediate impact on society can be painful – wider unemployment, for example, frequently results and governments fail.” But of course, being a former top Treasury Department official, he went on to praise the “global supra-government,” writing that, “the longer-term effects can be often transformative and positive.”
Ominously, Altman concluded: “Whether this power is healthy or not is beside the point. It is permanent,” and “there is no stopping the new policing role of the financial markets.”
So, this small network of dominant global companies and banks, many of which are larger than most countries on earth, with no democratic accountability, are also acting independently as a type of “global supra-government” forcing even our dysfunctional and façade-like “democratic” governments to collapse if they do not do as “financial markets” say – such as the recent cases of democratically-elected governments in Greece and Italy whose officials were forced out and replaced with unelected bankers.
In any other situation that’s called a coup d’état. But as Altman’s view reflected, powerful government officials will not oppose this network, whether or not the power is good for human lives and human communities – which is, in Altman’s words, “beside the point.” After all, in his view, “it is permanent.”
Unless, of course, the people of the world decide to have a say in the matter.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, with a focus on studying the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power and resistance across a wide spectrum of social, political, economic, and historical spheres. He has been published in AlterNet, CounterPunch, Occupy.com, Truth-Out, RoarMag, and a number of other alternative media groups, and regularly does radio, Internet, and television interviews with both alternative and mainstream news outlets. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project and has a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.
Creating an “Arc of Crisis”: The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia
The Mumbai Attacks and the “Strategy of Tension”
Global Research, December 7, 2008
The recent attacks in Mumbai, while largely blamed on Pakistan’s state-sponsored militant groups, represent the latest phase in a far more complex and long-term “strategy of tension” in the region; being employed by the Anglo-American-Israeli Axis to ultimately divide and conquer the Middle East and Central Asia. The aim is destabilization of the region, subversion and acquiescence of the region’s countries, and control of its economies, all in the name of preserving the West’s hegemony over the “Arc of Crisis.”
The attacks in India are not an isolated event, unrelated to growing tensions in the region. They are part of a processof unfolding chaos that threatens to engulf an entire region, stretching from the Horn of Africa to India: the “Arc of Crisis,” as it has been known in the past.
The motives and modus operandi of the attackers must be examined and questioned, and before quickly asserting blame to Pakistan, it is necessary to step back and review:
Who benefits? Who had the means? Who had to motive? In whose interest is it to destabilize the region? Ultimately, the roles of the United States, Israel and Great Britain must be submitted to closer scrutiny.
The Mumbai Attacks: 11/26/08
On November 26, 2008, a number of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred across India’s main commercial city of Mumbai, which lasted until November 29. The attacks and three-day siege that ensued left hundreds dead, and roughly 295 others injured. Among the dead were a Briton, five Americans and six Israelis.
Asserting the Blame
The 60-hour siege that engulfed Mumbai was reportedly undertaken by just ten, well-trained “commando killers.” Most blame has fallen on the heels of the group known as Lashkar-e-Taiba.
At first, a previously-unheard of organization, known as the Deccan Mujahideen, took responsibility for the terror attacks when it sent emails to several news outlets a mere six hours after the fighting began. However, much skepticism remained about whether the group actually even exists.
British intelligence then claimed that the attacks had the “hallmarks” of Al-Qaeda as it was undertaken in an effort to target westerners, similar to the 2002 Bali Bombings. British intelligence officials suggested the attacks were in “retaliation” for the recent US air attacks of suspected Al-Qaeda camps in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, and that India was chosen as the target because that is where Al-Qaeda has “sufficient resources to carry out an attack.”
On November 28, India’s foreign minister said the attackers were coordinated “outside the country,” in a veiled reference to Pakistan. India’s Prime Minister also blamed the attacks on militant groups based in Pakistan, which are supported by the Pakistani government.
Then, the focus was put directly on the group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant Pakistani-based organization responsible for past attacks in India. American intelligence early on pointed the finger at this group, as well as identifying the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) as its supporter.
The Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT)
It is important to identify what the LeT is and how it has operated historically. The group operates out of the disputed territories between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir. It has close ties with the Pakistani ISI, and is largely known for its use of suicide attacks. However, aside from its links to the ISI, it is also closely allied with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The LeT is even referred to as the “most visible manifestation” of Al-Qaeda in India. It has branches across much of India, Pakistan, and in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, South East Asia, and the United Kingdom. It primarily gets its funding from Pakistani businessmen, the ISI and Saudi Arabia. The LeT also took part in the Bosnian campaign against the Serbs in the 1990s.
All the above-mentioned connections make the LeT the most desirable outfit to blame for the Mumbai attacks, as its Al-Qaeda connections, international presence and historical precedents of terror attacks set it up as the perfect target. Much like with Al-Qaeda, the LeT’s international scope could serve as a basis for taking a “war against LeT” to the steps of many countries, thus further serving the interests of the Anglo-American “War on Terror.”
Militant Islam and Western Intelligence – The Case of Yugoslavia
The LeT has not operated independently of Pakistani influence and finances. It’s close relationship with the ISI must be viewed in context: the ISI has a close relationship with Western intelligence agencies, primarily those of Great Britain and the United States. The ISI has effectively acted as a conduit for Anglo-American intelligence operations in the region since the late 1970s, when the Afghan Mujahedeen were created in collusion with the CIA. Out of this collusion, lasting throughout the 1980s until the end of the Soviet-Afghan War in 1989, Al-Qaeda was created, as well as a series of other militant Islamic organizations.
It is often stated that the CIA then discontinued its relationship with the ISI, and in turn, that the militant Islamic organizations broke off from their Western intelligence sponsors to declare war against the West. However, the facts do not support this. The ties remained, but the strategy changed. What changed was that in the early 1990s, the Cold War ended, and Russia no longer was the “Evil Empire,” and thus the excuse for an exacerbated defence budget and imperialist foreign policy receded. As George H.W. Bush declared, it was during this time that we would see the formation of the “New World Order.” And with that, there was a need for a new, elusive enemy, not in the form of a nation, but a seemingly invisible enemy, international in scale, thus taking the war to an international arena.
So in the early 1990s, Western intelligence maintained its ties to these Islamic terrorist groups. Yugoslavia is a very important case to analyze in relation to current events. The break-up of Yugoslavia was a process undertaken by Anglo-American covert interests with the aim of serving their imperial ambitions in the region. In the early 1980s, the IMF set the stage in Yugoslavia with its Structural Adjustment Programs, which had the effect of creating an economic crisis, which in turn created a political crisis. This exacerbated ethnic rivalries, and in 1991, the CIA supported the Croat move for independence.
In 1992, with the start of the Bosnian War, Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists began operating with the ethnic Bosnian Muslim minority in fighting the Serbs. In turn, these Al-Qaeda affiliated groups were supported with training, arming, and finances by German, Turkish, Iranian and US intelligence agencies; with additional financial support from Saudi Arabia. In 1997, the Kosovo War began, in which the militant-terrorist-drug trafficking Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began fighting against Serbia, with training, arms and financial support from the US and other NATO countries. The CIA, German intelligence, the DIA, MI6 and British Special Forces (SAS) all provided training and support to the KLA.
Yugoslavia – Before and After Balkanization
The aim was in breaking up Yugoslavia, using ethnic rivalries as the trigger for regional conflict and ultimately war, leading to the dissolution of Yugoslavia into several countries, justifying a permanent US and NATO military presence in the region. [See: Breaking Yugoslavia, by Andrew G. Marshall, Geopolitical Monitor, July 21, 2008]
The Lashkar-e Taiba’s participation in the Bosnian War against Serbia would have in turn been financed and supported by these various Western intelligence agencies, thus serving the interests of Western Imperialist states; primarily those of Great Britain and the United States.
The LeT and Western Intelligence
The LeT has a sordid history of involvement with Western intelligence agencies, primarily those of Great Britain.
With the London 7/7 bombings [July 7, 2005] in which three underground stations and a double-decker bus had bombs explode on them; many of the suspected terrorists had interesting connections to Pakistan. For example, one of the suspects, Shehzad Tanweer, had apparently “attended a religious school run by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)” while in Pakistan. Due to the LeT’s ties with Al-Qaeda, this allowed for the conclusion to be drawn that Al-Qaeda may have played a part in the London bombings, which were initially blamed on the international terrorist organization. The LeT also has close ties with the Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI), an Indonesian terrorist organization, which was blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings, which also targeted tourists in Indonesia.
The Bali Bombings
Interesting to note, however, is that in the early 1990’s, when the Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI) was officially formed into a terrorist organization, it developed close ties with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Further, the organizations founders and leaders played a significant role in recruiting Muslims to join the Afghan Mujahideen in the war against the Soviets during the 1980’s, which was covertly directed and supported by US, British and various other Western intelligence agencies. The JI wouldn’t exist “without the CIA’s dirty operations in Afghanistan.” A former Indonesian President stated that one of JI’s key individuals was also a spy for the Indonesian intelligence agency, and that Indonesian intelligence played a more central role in the Bali bombings than the JI itself.
The JI itself, had reportedly been infiltrated by the CIA, Israeli Mossad, and that “the CIA and the Mossad, assisted by the Australian Special Action Police (SAP) and the M15 of England, are all working towards undermining Muslim organizations in an attempt to weaken the Muslims globally.” Further, one of JI’s key planners of the Bali bombings, Omar al-Faruq, was reportedly a CIA asset, and even senior Indonesian intelligence officials believed the CIA was behind the Bali bombings. The CIA subsequently “guided” Indonesia’s investigation into the bombings, which found the JI, and the JI alone, responsible for the attacks. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, The Bali Bombings. Geopolitical Monitor, November 15, 2008]
Much of the focus of the London bombings of July 7, 2005 (7/7), was focused on the “Pakistani connection.” The suspected bombers had all visited Pakistan, and apparently developed contacts with groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e Taiba. However, a less known and less publicized connection yields some very interesting information. The suspected mastermind of the London bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, had visited all the suspected bombers leading up to the attacks. Phone records revealed that there were “around 20 calls between him and the 7/7 gang, leading right up to those attacks.” Why is this significant? Because Haroon Rashid Aswat, apart from being an Al-Qaeda operative, also happened to be an MI6 agent, working for the British intelligence. Haroon also made his appearance on the scene of Islamic terrorism when he was in Kosovo in the 1990’s, where he “worked for British intelligence.”
Another event which brought to the forefront a “Pakistani connection” was the August 2006 London liquid bomb plot, in which terrorists supposedly were plotting to blow up nearly a dozen Atlantic airliners bound for major US cities.
The Pakistani ISI apparently helped in “uncovering” the liquid bomb plot, aiding the British in their roundup of suspects, and “tipped-off MI5.” One of the Pakistani groups accused of some involvement in the liquid bomb plot was the Lashkar-e Taiba.
However, again, the suspected terrorists had been “infiltrated” and spied on by British intelligence for over a year. Further, the supposed ringleader of the bomb plot, Rashid Rauf, a dual British-Pakistani citizen, was pinpointed as the ringleader by both British and Pakistani intelligence, and was the link between the plot and Al-Qaeda. Rauf also has close ties with the ISI, and apparently had the plot approved by Al-Qaeda’s number two in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who formerly worked for the CIA during the Soviet-Afghan war. The ISI had arrested Rashid Rauf following the “exposure” of the liquid bomb plot, yet, in 2006, the charges against him were dropped, and in 2007, he amazingly escaped Pakistani custody, having “managed to open his handcuffs and evade two police guards.” [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Liquid Bomb Plot. Geopolitical Monitor: October 27, 2008]
Clearly, if the LeT is discovered to be responsible for the Mumbai attacks, its connections to Western intelligence agencies should be more closely examined and subject to investigation. The ISI, throughout its history, has not been the key player in supporting various terrorist organizations, rather, it can be more accurately described as a conduit for Western intelligence agencies to covertly fund and support terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Central Asia.
We must examine the current attacks with a backdrop of reviewing recent terror attacks in India.
1993 Bombay Bombings
March 12, 1993, Bombay (today, Mumbai) experienced a coordinated attack of 13 explosions, which killed over 250 people. A man with close connections to Osama bin laden and Al-Qaeda, Dawood Ibrahim, was believed to have been the mastermind of the attacks. He has also financed several operations of the Lashkar-e Taiba, and was believed to be hiding out in Pakistan, and receiving protection and support from the Pakistani ISI, which in 2007, reportedly arrested him. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network. Global Research: September 17, 2008]
Mumbai Bombings, July 11, 2006: 7/11
Over 200 people were killed in Mumbai when seven bombs exploded within 11 minutes of one another on several trains. Blame for the attacks was placed with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), both of which have close ties with the ISI. The ISI was subsequently blamed for organizing the attacks, which were then carried out by the LeT and SIMI. The bombings led to the postponement of India-Pakistan peace talks, which were set to take place the next week. [Ibid]
Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan: July 7, 2008
On July 7, 2008, a bomb exploded at the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing over 50 people, and injuring over 100 others. The Afghan government and the Indian intelligence agency immediately blamed the ISI, in collaboration with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, of planning and executing the attack. Reports on the bombing suggested that the aim was to “increase the distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan and undermine Pakistan’s relations with India, despite recent signs that a peace process between Islamabad and New Delhi was making some headway.”
Indian Embassy in Kabul
In early August, American intelligence agencies supported the claim that members of the ISI helped plan the attack, which they based upon “intercepted communications,” and that, “American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack.” Interestingly, “a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan [in August] to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups.” However, the CIA knows of these connections, as it has actively supported and financed these covert ISI connections with terrorist organizations. So, what was the real purpose of this top CIA official’s visit to Pakistan?
Days after the CIA released this information to the New York Times, the US accused Pakistan of undermining NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan by supporting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and further, “Mike Mc-Connell, the director of national intelligence, and [CIA director] Hayden asked Musharraf to allow the CIA greater freedom to operate in the tribal areas,” and was threatened with “retaliation” if he did not comply. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network. Global Research: September 17, 2008]
The ISI and the CIA
Again, if the ISI is to be blamed for the recent Mumbai attacks, as it has played a part in several attacks and support of terrorism throughout its history, it is important to identify its relationship with the CIA.
The CIA developed close ties with the ISI in the late 1970s, as the CIA used the ISI as a “go-between” for CIA support of the Afghan Mujahideen. This relationship was also pivotal in supporting the Afghan narcotics trade, which again is rampant. The relationship between the two agencies continued throughout the 1990s, in areas such as Chechnya, Yugoslavia and India. [See: Michel Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the “War on Terrorism”. Global Research: January 20, 2008]
A week prior to the 9/11 attacks, the head of Pakistan’s ISI was on a visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with several key policy figures, such as Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage; Senator Joseph Biden, who is going to be Obama’s Vice President; and with his counterparts in the CIA and Pentagon, and several other officials. He was in Washington right up to and after the 9/11 attacks, and was engaged in several key consultations with US officials, pledging support for the US War on Terror instantly. However, the very same Chief of the ISI also happened to have previously approved of wiring $100,000 to the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, which was also confirmed by the FBI. Thus, the ISI suddenly became a financier of the 9/11 attacks. Yet, no action was taken against the ISI or Pakistan, apart from the ISI Chief being fired upon this revelation making it into the media.
ISI Chief Lt.-General Mahmoud Ahmad
Of significance is that this ISI Chief, Lt.-General Mahmoud Ahmad, was approved as head of the ISI by the US in 1999. From then, he was in close contact and liaison with top officials of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Pentagon. [See: Michel Chossudovsky, Cover-up or Complicity of the Bush Administration? Global Research: November 2, 2001]
Collaboration between the ISI and CIA did not end with these disturbing revelations. In 2007, it was reported that the CIA was arming and funding a terrorist organization named Jundullah, based in Pakistan’s tribal areas, with the goal of “sowing chaos” in Iran. Jundullah not only is funded and armed by the CIA, but has extensive ties to Al-Qaeda, and the ISI, as the CIA’s financial support for the group is funneled through the ISI, so as to make it more difficult to establish a link between the CIA and the terrorist outfit. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia, op cit ]
Anglo-American-Israeli Intelligence and India
In mid-October, American intelligence agencies warned Indian intelligence warned India about an attack “from the sea against hotels and business centers in Mumbai.” Even the Taj Hotel, which became the key area of fighting, was listed as a specific target. In late November, “India’s intelligence services had delivered at least three precise warnings that a major terrorist attack on Mumbai was imminent.”
Immediately following the attacks, it was reported that, “Unprecedented intelligence cooperation involving investigating agencies and spy outfits of India, United States, United Kingdom and Israel has got underway to crack the method and motive behind the Mumbai terrorist massacre, now widely blamed on Islamist radicals who appeared to have all four countries on their hit list when they arrived on the shores of India.” Specifically, “Investigators, forensic analysts, counter-terrorism experts and spymasters from agencies the four countries are converging in New Delhi and Mumbai to put their heads, resources, and skills together to understand the evolving nature of the beast.”
Further, “Washington suggested sending US Special Forces for on-the-ground operations in Mumbai but New Delhi declined the offer, saying its own forces could take care of the situation.” This unprecedented intelligence cooperation was based upon the understanding that, “the manner in which the terrorists who attacked Mumbai are reported to have singled out Americans and Britons, besides pointedly occupying a Jewish center, has revealed that their agenda was wider than just domestic discontent or the Kashmir issue.”
Shortly after the attacks began, it was reported that FBI agents were quickly flown to Mumbai to help in investigating the Mumbai attacks. Israel also offered to send in its “crack commandos to Mumbai to rescue Israeli hostages held in a Jewish centre,” which was refused by India, which led to Israeli media criticizing India’s response to the attacks as “slow, confused and inefficient.”
Hours after the attacks began on November 26, it was reported that two terrorists were killed and two others were arrested. Later on, reports surfaced in which Indian police had killed four of the Mumbai terrorists and arrested nine of them. The international media was full of this reported capture of nine terrorists.
Interestingly, by November 29, the story had changed. All of a sudden, Mumbai cops had only “nabbed” one terrorist. This person has effectively become the nail-in-the-coffin for laying the blame at Pakistan’s door. As soon as this person was caught, he began to sing like a canary, and said that, “all [the] terrorists were trained in marine warfare along with the special course Daura-e-Shifa conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in what at once transforms the nature of the planning from a routine terror strike and into a specialized raid by commandos.” He also stated that the terrorists “were made to believe by their Lashkar bosses that they were not being sent on a suicide mission and that they would be coming back alive.” He also revealed the names of his fellow terrorists, all of them Pakistani citizens.
Along the same lines, another very interesting mystery of the Mumbai massacre is the early reports of British involvement. Shortly following the outbreak of violence, Indian authorities stated that, “Seven of the Mumbai terrorists were British Pakistanis,” and that, “two Brits had been arrested and another five suspects were from the UK.” Further, Blackberry phones found on the suspects contained “a lot of content” connecting them with the UK. The Chief Minister of Mumbai had early on reported that, “two British-born Pakistanis were among eight gunmen seized by Indian commandos who stormed buildings to free hostages.”
On December 1, the Daily Mail reported that, “As many as seven of the terrorists may have British connections and some could be from Leeds and Bradford where London’s July 7 bombers lived.” As a result of these revelations, Scotland Yard anti-terrorist detectives were sent to Mumbai “to assist in the investigation.” There was also speculation that one particular British Al-Qaeda suspect may have helped plan the assault, and just happened to be killed a week earlier in Pakistan by the CIA. That person was Rashid Rauf. This is the same Rashid Rauf who was at first declared the mastermind of the London liquid bomb plot, who had close ties with the ISI and Al-Qaeda, who was subsequently arrested by the ISI, and then miraculously “escaped” from Pakistani custody. Barely a week before the Mumbai Massacre, Rauf was reportedly killed by a CIA drone attack on a militant Islamic base in Pakistan’s tribal region.
Early on, there was an incident in which a taxicab was blown up in Mumbai, with the driver and passenger killed. The taxi started moving through a red light when the car bomb exploded, which ended up saving the lives of “hundreds,” as opposed to if the car had moved when the light was green and intersection was full. This ensured that the only ones who died were those in the taxi. This sparked an investigation into whether the driver “was aware that his car was loaded with explosives.”
Why is this significant? Because this closely resembles tactics used in Iraq since the Anglo-American occupation of the country, employed by both US and British intelligence and special forces in an effort to sow chaos and create civil strife and war. [See: Andrew G. Marshall, State-Sponsored Terror: British and American Black Ops in Iraq. Global Research, June 25, 2008]
Means, Modus Operandi and Motive
While the possibility that Pakistan and the ISI (or Lashkar-e Taiba) are responsible for the Mumbai attacks should be taken into consideration, given precedence and means, we must allow ourselves to contemplate other possibilities.
While India and the west are placing the blame for the attacks on Pakistan’s ISI and the Lashkar-e Taiba, the Pakistani press is reporting on another possibility.
On November 29, the Pakistan Daily reported that, with a stiff side of anti-Israel rhetoric, that the Mumbai attack would be used “as justification for a US invasion of Pakistan.” It reported that the Israeli Mossad “has mobilized since 2000 in the Jammu and Kashmir areas of India, where the Indian government has been pursuing a ‘security’ issue with regard to the Kashmiri people.” It quoted a Times of India article that reported, “Israeli counter-terrorism experts are now touring Jammu and Kashmir and several other states in India at the invitation of Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani to make an assessment of New Delhi’s security needs. The Israeli team, headed by Eli Katzir of the Israel Counter-Terrorism Combat Unit, includes Israeli military intelligence officials and a senior police official.” There was also a reported agreement on “closer India-Israeli cooperation on all security matters.”
Shortly after the start of the attacks in Mumbai, a Russia counter-terrorism presidential envoy stated that, “The terrorists in the Indian city of Mumbai, who killed more than 150 people and injured over 300, used the same tactics that Chechen field militants employed in the Northern Caucasus.” He elaborated, “These tactics were used during raids by militant Chechen field commanders Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev against the towns of Buddyonnovsk and Pervomaiskoye. For the first time in history the entire towns were terrorized, with homes and hospitals seized. The Mumbai terrorists have learned these tactics well.”
Shamil Basayev, one of the Chechen rebel leaders, as well as many of the other Chechen leaders, were trained by the CIA and ISI in Afghanistan, in CIA-run training camps during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s.
On December 2, former ISI Chief Hameed Gul, said that the “Mumbai incident is an international based conspiracy to deprive Pakistan of its atomic power. Talking to a private TV channel on Friday, he said that to involve Pakistan in the incident reflected that some forces wanted to declare Pakistan a fail[ed] state as somehow it had become necessary to make Pakistan kneel down in order to snatch its atomic power away.” He elaborated that the method of attacks, and how the militants executed them, “seemed impossible without internal support.” He continued in stating that the “US wanted to see [the] Indian army in Afghanistan to disintegrate the country,” and referred to recent US maps showing a divided Pakistan in four parts, and that making Pakistan “kneel down” before the IMF was “part of a pre-planned trick.”
As astonishing and outlandish as these claims may seem, the US has a long history of turning on its allies when they seek to become self-sufficient and developed, such as with Saddam Hussein and Iraq in the early 1990s. Also, it is vital to note the role of the IMF and World Bank in creating economic crises, and thus, political-social-ethnic instability, which invariably has led to all out ethnic war, genocides and “international interventions,” in countries such as Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) often create the conditions for political instability, while covert Western intelligence support to disaffected and radical groups creates the means for rebellion; which then becomes the excuse for foreign military intervention; which then secures an imperial military presence in the region, thus gaining control over the particular region’s resources and strategic position. This is the age-old conquest of empire: divide and conquer.
Interesting to note is that in 2008, “Pakistan was again seeking IMF help. On Nov. 25, it won final approval on a $7.6 billion loan package after foreign reserves shrank 74 percent to $3.5 billion in the 12 months ended on Nov. 8.” This loan was approved a day before the Mumbai attacks began. On December 4, it was reported that, “Tough conditions of International Monetary Fund (IMF) have now started surfacing as IMF and the Government of Pakistan (GoP) agreed to discontinue oil import support, eliminate power subsidies and budgetary support of the government, public and private entities. IMF and GoP have agreed to phase out the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBPs) provision of foreign exchange for oil imports.” On top of this, “further steps will be taken during the remainder of the fiscal year to strengthen tax enforcement. Moreover, fuel prices will continue to be adjusted to pass through changes in international prices.” Further, “The programme envisages a significant tightening of monetary policy.”
The results of these conditionalities are predictable: Pakistan will lose all subsidies; fuel prices will drastically rise, as will food and other necessary commodity prices. At the same time, a tightening of monetary policy and World Bank/IMF control over Pakistan’s central bank will prevent Pakistan from taking measures to curb inflation, and the cost of living will skyrocket as the currency value plummets. All this is going on while taxes are increased and expanded greatly, and public jobs such as bureaucratic positions, education, etc., are downsized or altogether disbanded. Money will likely continue to flow to the ISI and Army, which will create discontent among Pakistan’s deprived and disillusioned. A military coup would be likely, followed by rebellion en masse, which would in turn pit the various ethnicities against one another. This could lead to either a war against India, ultimately ending with a consolidated national security state to act as a conduit for Anglo-American imperial ambitions, such as in Rwanda; or, it could result in ethnic conflict and wars, ultimately ending up in the break-up of Pakistan into smaller states divided among ethnic lines, such as in Yugoslavia. Or, it could end with a combination of the two, a divided, warring, region engulfed in crisis.
The break up of Pakistan is not a far-fetched idea in terms of Anglo-American strategy. In fact, the plan for the destabilization and ultimately, balkanization of Pakistan has originated in Anglo-American-Israeli military strategic circles. As I previously documented in Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project [Global Research, July 10, 2008], the destabilization and balkanization of the near-entire Middle East and Central Asia has been a long-held strategy for the Anglo-America-Israeli Axis since the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Divide and Conquer
This concept evolved in strategic planning circles in the late 1970s in response to regional nationalist tendencies in the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as a perceived threat of growing Soviet influence in the region. The central aim of these strategic thinkers was to secure Middle Eastern oil and Central Asian gas reserves and pipeline routes under the control of the Anglo-Americans. Control over these vital energy reserves is a strategic as much as economic concern, as most of the world gets its energy from this area; so those who control the energy, control who gets it, and thus, control much of the world. The economic benefits of Anglo-Americans controlling the regions energy reserves cannot be analyzed separately from strategic interests, as they are one and the same. Anglo-American oil companies gain control of the oil and gas, while the British and American governments install puppet regimes to look after their interests; and to act as proxies in creating conflicts and wars with countries of the region who act in their own national interest, as opposed to acting under the guidance of and submission to the Anglo-Americans.
Arc of Crisis
After the 1973 oil shocks, which were, in fact, promoted and covertly orchestrated by Anglo-American banking and oil interests, the oil producing nations grew very wealthy, such as Iran. As well as this, countries like Afghanistan were becoming increasingly leftist and progressive. Fearing possible alliances developing between Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries with the Soviet Union, as well as the even greater threat of these countries becoming truly independent, taking control of their own resources for the good of their own people; Anglo-American strategists turned to what is called the “Arc of Crisis.”
The “Arc of Crisis” describes the “nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.” Further, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran.” In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a speech in which he stated, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.”
Anglo-American strategy in the region thus developed and changed at this time, as “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.” Bilderberg member, Bernard Lewis, presented a British-American strategy to the Bilderberg Group during the 1979 meeting, which, “endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an ‘Arc of Crisis,’ which would spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.” Since the Soviet Union was viewed as a secular and atheist regime, having oppressed religion within its sphere of influence, the rise of radical Islamic influence and governments in the Middle East and Central Asia would ensure that Soviet influence would not enter into the region, as radical Muslims would view the Soviets with more distrust than the Americans. The Anglo-Americans positioned themselves as the lesser of two evils.
Bernard Lewis was a former British intelligence officer and historian who is infamous for explaining Arab discontent towards the West as not being rooted in a reaction toward imperialism, but rather that it is rooted in Islam; in that Islam is incompatible with the West, and that they are destined to clash, using the term, “Clash of Civilizations.” For decades, “Lewis played a critical role as professor, mentor, and guru to two generations of Orientalists, academics, U.S. and British intelligence specialists, think tank denizens, and assorted neoconservatives.” In the 1980s, Lewis “was hobnobbing with top Department of Defense officials.” Lewis wrote a 1992 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, titled, “Rethinking the Middle East.” In this article, Lewis raised the prospect of another policy towards the Middle East in the wake of the end of the Cold War and beginnings of the New World Order, “which could even be precipitated by fundamentalism, is what has of late become fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East – Egypt is an obvious exception – are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a proc ess. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the nation-state. The state then disintegrates – as happened in Lebanon – into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties.”
Bernard Lewis’ Redrawn Map of the “Arc of Crisis”
A Foreign Affairs article of 1979, the journal put out by the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), discussed the Arc of Crisis: “The Middle East constitutes its central core. Its strategic position is unequalled: it is the last major region of the Free World directly adjacent to the Soviet Union, it holds in its subsoil about three-fourths of the proven and estimated world oil reserves, and it is the locus of one of the most intractable conflicts of the twentieth century: that of Zionism versus Arab nationalism.” It explained that US strategy in the region was focused with “containment” of the Soviet Union as well as access to the regions oil. 
It was in this context that in 1979, as Zbigniew Brzezinski later admitted, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” He claimed that, “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.” What a perfect example of what George Orwell would call “double-speak,” saying that the Americans “didn’t push the Russians to intervene” but rather, “increased the probability that they would.” In other words, they “pushed” them to intervene.
This is when the Mujahideen were created, and through this, Al-Qaeda, and a variety of other radical Islamic groups which have come to plague global geopolitics since this era. Terrorism cannot be viewed, as it often is, in such a simple manner as “non-state actors” reacting to geopolitics of nations and corporations. In fact, many terrorist groups, particularly the largest, most well organized, extremist and violent ones, are “proxy state actors,” receiving covert support – through arms and training – by various state intelligence agencies. They are not simply “reacting” to geopolitics, but are important players in the geopolitical chessboard. They represent the perfect excuse for foreign militaristic adventurism and war; domestic tyranny in the form of developing police states to control populations, stifle dissent and create a totalitarian base of control.
As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in September of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, “The map of terrorist sanctuaries and targets in the Middle East and Central Asia is also, to an extraordinary degree, a map of the world’s principal energy sources in the 21st century. The defense of these energy resources — rather than a simple confrontation between Islam and the West — will be the primary flash point of global conflict for decades to come.” Further, it stated: “It is inevitable that the war against terrorism will be seen by many as a war on behalf of America’s Chevron, ExxonMobil and Arco; France’s TotalFinaElf; British Petroleum; Royal Dutch Shell and other multinational giants, which have hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the region.” Indeed, where Al-Qaeda is present, the US military follows, and behind the military, the oil companies wait and push; and behind the oil companies, the banks cash in.
Balkanizing the Middle East
In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist wrote a report for a publication of the World Zionist Organization in which he advocated, “The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon [which] is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.”
In 1996, an Israeli think tank with many prominent American neo-conservatives, issued a report in which they advocated for Israel to “Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats,” among them, to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
In 2000, the Project for the New American Century, an American neo-conservative think tank, published a report called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, in which they openly advocated for an American empire in the Middle East, focusing on removing the “threats” of Iraq and Iran.
Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq, prominent members of the Council on Foreign Relations had begun advocating the break-up of Iraq into at least three smaller states, using Yugoslavia as an example of how to achieve this.
In 2006, the Armed Force Journal published an article by retired Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, which called for the redrawing of the borders of the Middle East. He first advocated the breakup of Iraq, and that, “Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan,” and that, “Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan.”
Describing Pakistan as “an unnatural state,” he said, “Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren,” and that it “would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining “natural” Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.” He even made up a helpful little list of “losers” and “winners” in this new great game: as in, who gains territory, and who loses territory. Among the losers are Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the West Bank and Pakistan. And Peters made the startling statement that redrawing borders is often only achieved through war and violence, and that “one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.”
Ultimately, the aims of the Mumbai attacks are to target Pakistan for balkanization. The question of who is responsible – either the ISI, largely rogue of Pakistan’s civilian government and under the authority of Anglo-American intelligence; or separate Indian terrorists, likely supported by the same Anglo-American intelligence community – while important, is ultimately a secondary consideration in comparison to the question of Why?
The Who, What, Where, and When is a show for public consumption; masked in confusion and half-truths, designed to confuse and ultimately frustrate the observer – creating a sense of unease and fear of the unknown. The WHY, on the other hand, is the most important question; once you discover the why, the who, where, what, and when begin to fall into place, and create a full picture.
If the Mumbai attacks were designed to be blamed on Pakistan – as they likely were – and thus, to possibly start a war between Pakistan and India – which is now a growing reality – what is the ultimate significance of knowing if it was the ISI or Indian elements responsible? Albeit, this is important to know, however, when it comes to understanding the motives behind the attacks, it pales in comparison.
Pakistan is a strategic lynch-point in the region. Pakistan borders Iran, Afghanistan, India and China. It lies directly below the Central Asian republics of the Former Soviet Union, which are rich in natural gas resources. With NATO’s war in Afghanistan, and the Anglo-Americans in Iraq, and American forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the occupation of Pakistan would position Western imperial militaries around Iran, the central Middle Eastern target. With the balkanization of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, destabilizing forces would cross the borders into Iran, ultimately creating the conditions for political and social collapse within the country.
A conflict between Pakistan and India would not only have the effect of dismantling Pakistan, but would also greatly deter India’s rapid economic and social development as the world’s largest democracy, and would force it to come under the influence or “protection” of Western military might and International Financial Institutions. The same is likely for China, as destabilization would cross Pakistan’s borders into the most populated country on earth, exacerbating ethnic differences and social disparities.
A large Anglo-American military presence in Pakistan, or, alternatively, a NATO or UN force, combined with the already present NATO force in Afghanistan, would be a massive military strategic position against advancement of China, Russia or India into the region. With China’s massively increasing influence in Africa threatening Anglo-American and European domination of the continent, a massive military presence on the border of China could act as a powerful warning.
The Mumbai attacks do not aid India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any nation within the region. The beneficiaries of the Mumbai Massacre are in London and New York, in the boardrooms and shareholders of the largest international banks; which seek total control of the world. Having dominated North America and Europe for much of recent history, these bankers, primarily Anglo-American, but also European, seek to exert their total control over the world’s resources, currencies, and populations. There are many concurrent strategies they are employing to achieve this end: among them, the global financial crisis, to reign in and control the world economy; and a “total war” in the Middle East, likely escalating into a World War with Russia and China, is the perfect tool to strike enough fear into the world population to accept an over-arching supranational governance structure – to ensure no future wars occur, to ensure stability of the global economy – a utopian vision of a single world order.
The problem with utopias is that they are “ultimate ideals,” and if humanity has learned anything in its history on this planet; it is that perfection is impossible, be it in the form of an “ideal person” or an “ideal government;” humanity is plagued by imperfections and emotion. Accepting our imperfections as a species is what can make us great, and understanding that a utopian ideal is impossible to achieve is what can allow us to create the “best possible” society we can have. All utopias attempted throughout history have always turned into dystopias. We must learn from humanity’s history of sordid flaws; and only when we accept that we are not perfect, and cannot ever become perfect, in person or in politics, are we free to become humanity at it’s most advanced and at its most noble.
 Damien McElroy and Rahul Bedi, Mumbai attacks: 300 feared dead as full horror of the terrorist attacks emerges. The Telegraph: November 30, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/3536220/Mumbai-siege-300-feared-dead-as-full-horror-of-the-terrorist-attacks-emerges.html
 Andrew Buncombe and Jonathan Owen, Just ten trained terrorists caused carnage. The Independent: November 30, 2008: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/just-ten-trained-terrorists-caused-carnage-1041639.html
 Maseeh Rahman, Mumbai terror attacks: Who could be behind them? The Guardian: November 27, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/27/mumbai-terror-attacks-india8
 Hasan Suroor, U.K. intelligence suspects Al-Qaeda hand. The Hindu: November 28, 2008: http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/28/stories/2008112860481700.htm
 Press TV, India links Mumbai attackers to Pakistan. Press TV: November 28, 2008: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=76797§ionid=351020402
 Agencies, India blames Pakistan for Mumbai attacks. Gulf News: November 28, 2008:
 Mark Mazzetti, U.S. Intelligence Focuses on Pakistani Group. The New York Times: November 28, 2008:
 SATP, Lashkar-e-Toiba: ‘Army of the Pure’. South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
 Gethin Chamberlain, Attacker ‘was recruited’ at terror group’s religious school. The Scotsman: July 14, 2005: http://news.scotsman.com/londonbombings/Attacker-was-recruited-at-terror.2642907.jp
 Michel Chossudovsky, London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence? Global Research: August 1, 2005: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=782
 Michel Chossudovsky, The Foiled UK Terror Plot and the “Pakistani Connection”. Global Research: August 14, 2006: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2960
 Richard Esposito, et. al., US Warned India in October of Potential Terror Attack. ABC News: December 1, 2008: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=6368013&page=1
 Praveen Swami, Pointed intelligence warnings preceded attacks. The Hindu: November 30, 2008: http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/30/stories/2008113055981500.htm
 Chidanand Rajghatta, US, UK, Israel ramp up intelligence aid to India. The Times of India: November 28, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/India_gets_intelligence_aid_from_US_UK/articleshow/3770950.cms
 Foster Klug and Lara Jakes Jordan, US sends FBI agents to India to investigate attack. AP: November 30, 2008: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gsTS09Q-pwO8Q0F_68FHwrmhCJOgD94OA5A80
 IANS, Israeli daily critical of India’s ’slow’ response to terror strike. Thaindian News: November 28, 2008:
 IANS, Two terrorists killed, two arrested in Mumbai. Thaindian News: November 27, 2008: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/two-terrorists-killed-two-arrested-in-mumbai_100124003.html
 Agencies, Four terrorists killed, nine arrested. Express India: November 27, 2008: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Four-terrorists-killed-nine-arrested/391103/
 ToI, Arrested terrorist says gang hoped to get away. The Times of India: November 29, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Arrested_terrorist_says_gang_hoped_to_get_away/articleshow/3771598.cms
 Mark Jefferies, Mumbai attacks: Seven terrorists were British, claims Indian government. Daily Record: November 29, 2008: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2008/11/29/mumbai-attacks-seven-terrorists-were-british-claims-indian-government-86908-20932992/
 Jon Swaine, Mumbai attack: ‘British men among terrorists’. The Telegraph: November 28, 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/3533472/Mumbai-attack-British-men-among-terrorists.html
 Justin Davenport, et. al., Massacre in Mumbai: Up to SEVEN gunmen were British and ‘came from same area as 7/7 bombers’. The Daily Mail: December 1, 2008: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1089711/Massacre-Mumbai-Up-SEVEN-gunmen-British-came-area-7-7-bombers.html
 Debasish Panigrahi, Taxi with bomb jumped signal, saving many lives. The Hindustan Times: November 28, 2008: http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.aspx?id=505311b6-974c-4d7b-87bb-8b5e29333299Mumbaiunderattack_Special&&Headline=Taxi+with+bomb+jumped+signal%2c+saving+many+lives
 Vijay V Singh, Was taxi driver aware of bomb in car? The Times of India: November 29, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mumbai/Was_taxi_driver_aware_of_bomb_in_car/articleshow/3770989.cms
 PD, The Israeli Mossad False Flag Opperation Strikes In Mumbai. Pakistan Daily: November 29, 2008:
 RT, Mumbai terrorists used Chechen tactics. Russia Today: November 29, 2008: http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/33921
 Michel Chossudovsky, Who Is Osama Bin Laden? Global Research: September 12, 2001: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO109C.html
 PD, Former ISI Chief Mumbai incident international conspiracy to deprive Pakistan of atomic power. Pakistan Daily: December 2, 2008:
 Yoolim Lee and Naween A. Mangi, Pakistan’s Richest Man Defies Terrorism to Expand Bank Empire. Bloomberg: December 3, 2008:
 Sajid Chaudhry, Inevitable conditionalities of IMF start surfacing. The Daily Times: December 4, 2008:
 Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: pages 21-22
 Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: page 22
 Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power. Perseus, 2002: pages 193-194
 Herbert R. Lottman, Return of the Rothschilds: The Great Banking Dynasty Through Two Turbulent Centuries. I.B. Tauris, 1995: page 81
 Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: pages 22-23
 HP-Time, The Crescent of Crisis. Time Magazine: January 15, 1979:
 Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 67
 F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 171
 Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. Owl Books, 2005: page 332-333
 Bernard Lewis, Rethinking the Middle East. Foreign Affairs, Fall 1992: pages 116-117
 George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 796
 Le Nouvel Observateur, The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan. Global Research: October 15, 2001:
 Frank Viviano, Energy future rides on U.S. war: Conflict centered in world’s oil patch. The San Francisco Chronicle: September 26, 2001:
Breaking Iraq and Blaming Iran
British Black Ops and the Terror Campaign in Basra
Global Research, July 3, 2008
British Black Ops in Basra
In September of 2005, the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra, under British occupation since the 2003 invasion, was the scene of an extraordinarily controversial incident, which has since exposed the anatomy of the Anglo-American “dirty war” in Iraq, and in fact, the relevance to the wider “War on Terror”.
On September 19, 2005, two white men, dressed as Arabs, obviously suspicious to the British-trained Iraqi police, were pulled over in their car as they approached the city center of Basra. As the Independent reported, “the two men had been driving in an unmarked car when they arrived at a checkpoint in the city.” What followed was a confrontation between the two men and the Iraqi police, with shots fired and an Iraqi police officer killed and another wounded. The men were then detained by the Iraqi police and taken to the central jail. As it turned out, the two men were members of the British elite SAS Special Forces.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, Fattah al-Shaykh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly representing Basra, stated that, “I could see that the UK forces were always provoking the Iraqi people in Basra. There are indiscriminate arrests and pressure,” and that a representative of the British embassy informed him that, “two UK soldiers were trying to stir up disturbances. Explosive materials were found in their car and they opened fire.” He further elaborated that, “what the UK forces are doing is not necessarily known by the Iraqi forces or coordinated with them through exchange of information. There are occupation forces, armoured vehicles, tanks and military aircraft in Basra. Moreover, there are members of the British intelligence present in Basra especially, since Basra is currently a sensitive and important area in Iraq. There are members of the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] and Mossad [word indistinct], as well as many institutions in this city.”
British journalist Robert Fisk asked in an article he wrote on the subject, “what [were] our two SAS lads were doing cruising around Basra in Arab dress with itsy-bitsy moustaches and guns? Why did no one ask? How many SAS men are in southern Iraq? Why are they there? What are their duties? What weapons do they carry? Whoops! No one asked.”
An astounding part of the story about the two British SAS agents is not simply what they were up to in Basra, but what happened to them after being arrested. Once arrested, they were questioned by Iraqi police, and as a Basra government official stated, “They refused to say what their mission was. They said they were British soldiers and to ask their commander about their mission.”
Within hours of the arrests, ten British tanks backed by helicopters stormed the jail where the men were held and destroyed the building, freeing roughly 150 Iraqi prisoners in the process. However, the British government initially stated that the men were released as a result of negotiations. British Defense officials “insisted they had been talking to the Iraqi authorities to secure the release of the men, but acknowledged a wall was demolished as British forces tried to “collect” the two prisoners.” The Basra Provincial Governor described the incident as “barbaric, savage and irresponsible.”
Later, the story was changed again, as the British Army reported that they staged the “rescue” because after the two soldiers were arrested, they were “then handed over to a militia group,” and likely as a result of British pressure, “Iraq’s interior ministry ordered the police force in Basra to release the soldiers but that order was ignored.” Brigadier John Lorimer, who led the operation, said, “that under Iraqi law the soldiers should have been handed over to coalition authorities, but this failed to happen despite repeated requests.” It should be noted, however, that the Iraqi law being referred to was written up by the Anglo-American Coalition Provisional Authority upon its initial occupation of the country in 2003.
As John Pilger noted in the New Statesman, “Although reported initially by the Times and the Mail, all mention of the explosives allegedly found in the SAS men’s unmarked Cressida vanished from the news. Instead, the story was the danger the men faced if they were handed over to the militia run by the “radical” cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.” He further reported on how what was found in the car included, “weapons, explosives and a remote-control detonator.”
It is an amazing display of Orwellian double-think for the British to be able to be responsible for inciting terror, orchestrate a massive assault on an Iraqi police station with tanks and helicopters, and yet, somehow spin it so that it looks like a heroic act of patriotism of the kind depicted in the classic World War 2 film, The Great Escape, where British and American POWs undertake a massive escape from a German POW camp. Although, far from a heroic escape, or valiant rescue, this was an overt military operation aimed at returning British terrorists into British hands.
A month after the “rescue” operation, the British government “officially apologized to Iraq over the recent Basra events,” and a British statement “said that London apologizes to the Iraqi people and government, Basra residents, city and province councils and the police force over mistakes made by the British.”
The day after Britain officially apologized for terrorizing Basra, a “senior British military police officer in Iraq involved in the investigation of alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians by soldiers [has] been found dead at a camp in Basra.” Captain Ken Masters, commander of 61 Section of the Special Investigations Branch (SIB), “was found in his bed at the airport at the weekend.” The Independent quoted Defense sources as saying the death was “not due to hostile action and also not due to natural causes.” Friends referred to the incident as a “total surprise,” and it was reported that no suicide note or firearms were found.
Masters’ job consisted of investigating all serious incidents involving the British military in Iraq, and as the Times reported, “Captain Masters’s biggest current investigation was ordered after the incident on September 19 when two SAS troopers had to be rescued by British troops in armoured vehicles after they had been arrested by Iraqi police. During a day of violent confrontations, the Iraqi authorities in Basra claimed that seven Iraqis were killed and 43 injured, many of them police.” The article elaborated on Masters’ duties, stating, “Compensation to the families of alleged Iraqi victims who died during the fracas depended on the official investigation being carried out by Captain Masters and his team.”
The British Ministry of Defense “said the circumstances surrounding the death on Saturday of Captain Ken Masters, 40, were not suspicious.” The day before Masters died, the official line put forward by the British military of the Basra incident was that, “the SAS had been ordered to carry out surveillance operations against several members of the Iraqi police, who were believed to be responsible for torturing prisoners at the notorious Jamiyat prison in Basra.”
Later, the official line put out after an investigation was that Masters did indeed kill himself, due to work pressures. Masters, who was a husband and father of two, was due to return home from tour five days after he apparently killed himself.
On December 25, 2006, the British again stormed the Basra headquarters of the serious crimes unit, the same police station where the SAS officers were held the previous September. The British killed seven men and destroyed the building, which “had been demolished with explosives after the pre-dawn assault by about 1,000 troops.” Further, “The operation came three days after British soldiers arrested the head and other members of the serious crimes unit on suspicion of involvement in the kidnap of two SAS soldiers and the murder of several Iraqis last year.” The “kidnap” being referred to here is an Orwellian double-speak version of the events describing the arrest of the two SAS officers for injuring and killing Iraqi police.
The official reason for the assault was that the serious crimes unit headquarters, “has long been accused of involvement in murders, attacks on coalition forces and kidnappings in the southern oil city, where rival Shia factions are fighting for control,” and that, “The British military acted after learning that some of the prisoners, all suspected criminals, inside the police station faced imminent execution.” Captain Dunlop stated, “We had clear directions from the prime minister and governor to dissolve the unit.”
Three days earlier, on December 22, 2006, the “senior Iraqi policeman who allegedly masterminded the abduction of two SAS soldiers last year was arrested yesterday following a major security operation in Basra.” In other words, the senior Iraqi officer who was present for the arrest, detention and questioning of the SAS soldiers was taken into British custody. The Telegraph reported that, “Under cover of thick fog, 800 British troops in tanks and armoured vehicles swooped on the home of the policeman and six other Iraqi officers.” The Telegraph again re-wrote history when they reported that, “The two SAS troopers were allegedly minutes away from being sold to insurgents and certain death after they were abducted by rogue police at a checkpoint in the Jamiat area of Basra on Sept 19 last year.”
In reaction to the storming and total destruction of the Serious Crimes Unit HQ in Basra, the Basra Council “described the raid as illegal and has suspended co-operation with the military,” and called the raid “provocative.” Notably, “A Ministry of Defence spokesman said 1,000 troops were involved and hundreds of seized files and computers have been taken as evidence.” What exactly was contained on those files and computers? As reported by the New York Times, the “battle lasted nearly three hours. There were no British casualties, but the streets around the station were littered with bombed-out cars and rubble.”
Considering the fact that the mainstream media and British officials put massive spin on and manipulated the facts of the story about the SAS soldiers in relation to this story, it raises the question as to what they may be lying about in relation to the actual storming of the prison once again. What exactly was the purpose of this massive undertaking? Surely, the police forces in Iraq are corrupt and influenced by local militias; it is, after all, a state of war. But, it seems that as long as the corruption is in line with Anglo-American strategy in the region, a blind-eye is turned. Was the real problem that the Serious Crimes Unit was actually doing its job, investigating the Basra incident involving the SAS? This could explain why the computers and files were taken. The current official line that the SAS were investigating corrupt officials can support why they were dressed as Arabs. But as to why they were heavily armed, had explosives and detonators and were the first ones to shoot during the confrontation with the police, this explanation does not stand up to scrutiny.
Also, to storm the jail under the pretense of preventing torture and executions is highly hypocritical considering what the Coalition is guilty of in Iraq and around the world. So, it begs the question, what else is being lied about in this situation, and for what purpose?
Following very much in line with previous British actions in Basra, from the 2005 “rescue” of black-ops SAS state-terrorists, to the 2006 destruction of the jail, “rescue” of its computer records and arrest of its leading officials, the British again made their destabilizing presence known. On March 4, 2007, “Iraqi special operation forces and British troops swept into an Iraqi intelligence ministry building” in Basra, and, “found prisoners with signs of torture, British officials said.” Interestingly, “All 30 prisoners escaped during the surprise raid, which was triggered by information gleaned from suspects arrested hours earlier in another sweep.” The public explanation for the raid is very much the same as the previous Basra raid a year earlier, which actually appeared to be an operation aimed at retrieving information about and arresting all the officials involved with the previous year’s arrest of the two SAS soldiers. Officially, this 2007 raid was undertaken to “rescue” abused prisoners.
Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, referred to the raid as an “unlawful and irresponsible act.” As the Washington Post reported, “A British military statement said its forces acted quickly because it had gained information hours earlier that presented a high threat.” According to the Telegraph, the British captured “an alleged death squad leader and four other militants.” The article further reported that, “A British military spokesman said it had not been possible to warn the provincial authorities before the raid because it was ordered just hours earlier, on the basis of information received from a detained insurgent.” About the prisoners that escaped during the raid, “the British denied they were deliberately freed, saying they “regrettably” took advantage of the chaos to make their escape.”
The Iraqi Prime Minister released a statement saying that he “has ordered a prompt investigation into the incident of breaking into the security complex headquarters in Basra and he affirmed the need to punish those who have carried out this unlawful and irresponsible act.” The BBC reported on the incident, stating that, “The British government said the Army’s main bases in the city [of Basra] would be closed and the total British strength reduced by several thousand over time,” and that, “The theory behind this is that the Iraqi forces are now ready to take over. The raids over the weekend were indeed led by the Iraqi security forces – but targeted other parts of the Iraqi security forces.”
The question must be asked: What was the mission really about? Surely, and sadly, the only unique prison in Iraq would be one where torture does not occur, regardless of who is in control of it. And to say certain facilities under Iraqi government control are corrupt and involved in supporting terrorists and death squads is a diversionary point, as the Iraqi government itself is under Anglo-American control. The fact that the Iraqis were not told of this raid not only demonstrates that the British (and Americans) act above the law, but that the raid was something they did not want to have known by the Iraqis. There was a purpose behind the raid on the prison. It is important to note that it occurred a mere three months after the previous raid in December of 2006, in which the British seized “hundreds of files” and took computers “as evidence,” likely related to the British SAS incident. Since this was the Iraq intelligence unit in Basra, could it be that the previously destroyed Serious Crimes Unit had passed along some intelligence to the Iraqi Intelligence Ministry building? It would seem likely. And so, it would also seem to be likely that the British would follow the paper trail of evidence with their trail of terror.
In an August, 2007 article, the Washington Post reported that, “As British forces pull back from Basra in southern Iraq, Shiite militias there have escalated a violent battle against each other for political supremacy and control over oil resources, deepening concerns among some U.S. officials in Baghdad that elements of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated national government will turn on one another once U.S. troops begin to draw down.” The article quoted a think tank called the International Crisis Group (ICG) as saying that Basra is plagued by “the systematic misuse of official institutions, political assassinations, tribal vendettas, neighborhood vigilantism and enforcement of social mores, together with the rise of criminal mafias that increasingly intermingle with political actors.”
In September of 2007, amid widespread disenchantment among the British for their participation in the Iraq war and occupation, the British “pulled out of Basra Palace, the onetime southern residence of Saddam Hussein that became the symbol of the UK’s role in the US-led invasion.” As the Independent reported, “The British departure from their last remaining base inside the walls of Basra City, signalled their disengagement from the conflict and has highlighted a growing and public discord between Washington and London over Iraq, with the Americans claiming the move will severely undermine security.” The British were to remain at Basra airport only, which is on the outskirts of the city, “while what remains of the British-controlled south is handed over to the Iraqi authorities.” One Iraqi who is a resident of Basra was quoted as saying, “One thing we are uneasy about are rumours that the Americans may come to Basra to replace the British. We see what is happening in Baghdad and we don’t want that here.”
On September 12, 2007, it was reported by the Independent that, “British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran amid warnings from the senior US commander in Iraq that Tehran is fomenting a “proxy war”,” and that, “The deployment came within a week of British forces leaving Basra Palace, their last remaining base inside Basra city, and withdrawing to the airport for a widely expected final departure from Iraq.” The move to the Iranian border was apparently at the request of the Americans, as “The move came as General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, made some of the strongest accusations yet by US officials about Iranian activity. General Petraeus spoke on Monday of a “proxy war” in Iraq, while Mr Crocker accused the Iranian government of “providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state”.”
In December of 2007, the British officially “handed over control of Basra Province to Iraq’s government,” and as the New York Times reported, “American officials believe the transfer of control will be a serious test of Iraqi political and military leaders to maintain Basra — a strategically vital and politically fractious southern province, and the port city of the same name — under Iraqi control, and prevent Iran or Shiite militias from gaining too much influence.” However the British would remain in a “support role” in the Iraqi province that “holds most of Iraq’s proven petroleum reserves.” A British General was quoted as saying, “We will continue to help train Basra security forces.”
So was the British departure from Basra really a drawing down of participation in the war? Was it for political legitimacy within the UK? Or, was there another reason behind this action? Basra’s strategic importance cannot be underestimated, being in the south of Iraq, the most oil-rich province, close to Iran and in the heart of the Gulf.
The British used to govern Iraq under a League of Nations mandate from its “independence” from the Ottoman Empire until 1932. In 1940, an anti-British nationalist leader, Rashid Ali, came to power in Iraq. After engaging in closer relationships with fascist Italy and quietly with Nazi Germany, he was replaced in 1941 as Prime Minister. A few months later, he orchestrated a coup d’état and returned to power. The British immediately responded by seizing Basra, what was seen, even then, as a vital supply route. The British also had a major military base in Basra. Significantly, also in 1941, Iran’s King was developing close ties to Germany. Britain was afraid of Iran’s oil reserves falling out of the hands of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as BP – British Petroleum), and into hands of Germany. So, a couple months after Britain took back Iraq, the British and USSR launched a joint invasion of Iran. The British of course invaded from the south in Iraq, from their bases, notably their base in Basra.
Could this glimpse into the past present any understanding of the present British situation in Basra? Considering that the British went from Basra and moved to a base on the Iranian border, it seems likely. But why leave Basra? Well, if the strategy of tension in the Middle East is directed at destabilizing the region, spilling civil war and conflict across borders, perhaps it might be necessary for the British to step back and see if Basra collapses in on itself. Or perhaps, there would be some outside help in Basra’s implosion, but without the British forces present, foreign involvement would not be discussed as a cause of the problem, and could therefore be discussed as a possible solution to any implosion.
The Battle of Basra
Three months after handing control of Basra over to the Iraqis, a large battle was underway. The western media tenaciously referred to it as the “Battle of Basra.” On March 24, 2008, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went to Basra to oversee the planned Iraqi offensive to rid Basra of its Mahdi Army militia in key Sadrist neighborhoods of those loyal to Mahdi Army leader, Muqtada al-Sadr. This was the first major operation undertaken by the Iraqi Army.
The Battle lasted until March 31, resulting in hundreds of dead and significantly hundreds more wounded. During the battle, British papers such as the Times were calling for Britain to abandon its withdrawal timetable from the base outside of Basra, in order to remain in case of a need to “rescue” Basra.
The Iraqi government forces were surprised by the resilience of the Mahdi Army in Basra, and were suffering a great deal at the defenses of the militia. This resulted in American forces having to be drawn into the battle to support the Iraqi government forces. US warplanes were used, ultimately killing civilians, and even the British were drawn into the fighting directly from their base at the airport. The Independent reported that, “If US and British forces engage in direct military action on a wide scale with the Sadrist militia, then Mr Sadr could call for a general uprising, which would engulf all of Shia Iraq in war.” According to the BBC, “There have also been a small number of both British and American special forces on the ground” in Basra during the Battle.
It was on March 29, that Muqtada al-Sadr called for a ceasefire between the Shi’a militia and Iraqi forces. The Independent reported that, “The Sadrists’ ceasefire was unexpected since they have prevented government forces from advancing in Basra and Baghdad. Hours before the announcement, militiamen stormed the state television station in Basra, forcing the guards to flee and setting armoured vehicles on fire.” As it turned out, the ceasefire between Iraqi government officials and Sadr’s militia was brokered by Iran. USA Today reported that, “Iran has close ties with both al-Sadr’s movement and [Prime Minister] al-Maliki, who spent several years in exile there,” and that, “the agreement was brokered by the commander of Iran’s al-Quds Brigade, which is considered a terrorist organization by Washington.”
What was Behind the Battle of Basra?
How exactly did the Battle of Basra begin, other than the initial attack by government forces? What was the reasoning and purpose behind this major offensive? Surely, a puppet government such as Iraq would never undertake such an operation without in the very least, the support of the Americans or British, but even more likely, at the direction of the Anglo-Americans. The Battle of Basra must be put into a wider context.
A week before the Battle broke out, Vice President Dick Cheney took a surprise tour of the Middle East. If George Bush is the “Decider” as he once proclaimed, Dick Cheney is certainly the “Destabilizer,” not to mention, the “Decider’s Decider.” On March 17, Cheney made a surprise, unannounced visit to Iraq, where his “first meeting was a classified briefing with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who met him at the airport.” He also met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Among many of the possible topics of discussion during Cheney’s trip was that, “The Iraqis do not yet have a law for sharing the nation’s oil wealth among the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, a law that the Bush administration believes will trigger multinational energy companies to invest in exploration and production in Iraq,” as well as, “a plan for new provincial elections. Iraq’s presidential council, which must give its nod to laws passed by the Iraqi parliament, rejected a plan for new elections last month, shipping it back to the legislature.” The rejection was seen as “a setback to the U.S. campaign for national reconciliation, [which] came despite Cheney’s last-minute phone call to the main holdout on the three-member panel: Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite.” Cheney’s trip included visits to Oman, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Palestinian territories.
Among much of the discussion regarding Cheney’s trip to the Middle East was rumours of preparing for a possible war with Iran. As the Telegraph reported, “Mr Cheney, whose nine-day tour has included stops in Turkey, the Gulf and Afghanistan, insisted that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.” A surge of violence in Basra would provide Cheney with a convenient excuse to point the finger at Iran for “troublesome meddling” in Iraq.
It is important to take a closer look at possible reasons for the outbreak of violence in Basra in late March, a mere nine days after Cheney’s visit to Iraq. The main reasons, (none of which include the Iraqi government’s “decision” to displace the Mahdi Army), include scoring political points on the war issue in domestic American politics, passing an Iraqi oil law, pressing forward with provincial elections, building the case or creating a pretext for a war with Iran, and justifying a permanent occupation of Iraq.
Scoring Political Points
At Congressional hearings in early April following the Basra offensive, where Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Patraeus testified, Senator Ted Kennedy asked Crocker, “Were you at any meetings with the Vice President… where the issue of the Basra invasion took place?” Crocker responded, “Um, that was not discussed.” Kennedy pressed, “It wasn’t discussed at all, during the Vice President’s visit to Baghdad, ah, that the, the possibility of Maliki uh, going into Basra, was not discussed, you were not at any meetings where the Vice President was present or where this was discussed in his presence?” Crocker again replied, “Uh, it was not discussed in any meeting I attended, no, sir.” Kennedy then looked to General Patraeus, “Ah, General?” Patraeus replied, “Same, Senator.”
Ray McGovern, former 27-year CIA analyst who delivered several daily intelligence briefings to US Presidents, stated that, “I think Kennedy knows more than the rest of us know. I think it’s very clear that if you’re looking for why Maliki went off half-cocked for a big offensive down against Moqtada al-Sadr in southern Iraq, it was because Cheney had told him to. And I would be shocked if Cheney didn’t tell Patraeus and Crocker what he was going to tell Maliki.” He continued, “Patraeus has hundreds of troops there [in Basra] embedded with the Iraqi forces, he had to know exactly what was going on. He just couldn’t stop it. Why? Well, well he didn’t want to stop it because Cheney is running things. The plan was to get down there into the south to show that this fellow [Maliki] can take the initiative and be – well, the President was instructed two days later to say this was a ‘defining moment’ – a defining moment of the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki. Well, yeah, it was, but not the way they meant.” McGovern elaborated, “And so Patraeus and Crocker could come before Congress and say, ‘look, you told us – you told us last time that the Iraqis had to take more initiative, so that we’re not doing the fighting. Well, look, just what happened, they cleaned out the whole of southern Iraq. And they still played that theme… [that] Maliki took the initiative.” He further stated, “Ironically, they wanted to give the initiative to Maliki because they thought it might succeed, but then they wanted to give the initiative to Maliki because it failed miserably.”
The Oil Law
Iraq has failed to pass an oil law for some time. Basra, the most oil rich province in Iraq, is of vital importance in any decision made regarding an oil law. In 2001, before 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Vice President Cheney met in secret with executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc., in what was known as the Cheney Energy Task Force.
Interestingly, Judicial Watch, a public interest group and government watchdog, sued to get Commerce Department documents pertaining to Cheney’s secret Energy Task Force meetings. The documents contained “a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts’.” Further, “The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.”
Months after the Battle at Basra and Cheney’s visit, the International Herald Tribune reported that, “The Iraqi Oil Ministry is negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell on a joint venture deal to develop natural gas associated with oil production in southern Iraq,” and that, “The head of the Basra Economic Development Committee, Munadhil Abid Khanjar, said that Shell had approached the Oil Ministry last December with its plans and since then meetings have been held outside Iraq.” Two days later, it was reported that, “Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.” The main oil companies are “Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — [and they], along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.” It was further reported that, “The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India.”
So, if Cheney’s visit to Iraq was to do with oil, then, Mission Accomplished. However, it doesn’t seem likely that this was the reasoning behind the outbreak of violence in Basra. Surely, it was a topic of discussion between Cheney and Iraqi officials, however, it does not account for a push for violence in Basra, unless it is an issue of legitimizing a permanent occupation of the oil rich Basra province under the auspices of “stabilizing” the volatile region, but in reality, maintaining a presence there to protect the oil fields for Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, and BP.
The Provincial Elections
In February of 2008, it was reported that, “Iraq’s three-member presidency council has rejected a draft law to hold provincial elections and returned it to parliament,” and that, “The bill is expected to boost the powers of the provinces to launch their own economic projects with the money allocated by the central government.” Two days after Cheney’s visit, “Iraq’s three-member presidential council on Wednesday approved legislation that sets a time frame for provincial elections, a development that Iraqi lawmakers called an important step toward reconciling rival factions in the divided government.” This appears to be following the directions of the Council on Foreign Relations, among many other think tanks, in balkanizing Iraq, or as they put it, reverting to a federal system. Although pushing for a federal system for Iraq came after initial calls for a “three state solution,” as was the title of a Leslie Gelb article in the New York Times, who is President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. The article he wrote called for the Balkanization of Iraq based upon the model of Yugoslavia, which, incidentally, was fractured largely through Western-financed, Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in Bosnia and Kosovo.
President Bush said in a speech on March 27, 2008, during the Battle of Basra, that, “Last week, leaders reached agreement on a provincial powers law that helps define Iraqi federalism, and sets the stage for provincial elections later this year. And that’s an important piece of legislation because it will give Iraqis who boycotted the last provincial election — such as Sunnis in Anbar or Ninewa provinces — a chance to go to the polls and have a voice in their future.”
Reverting to a more federal system will allow for the political fracturing of Iraq. Not only will it separate the regions likely according to Sunni, Kurd and Shi’a factions, but it will allow bigger powers, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, to not have their influence threatened by any actual strengthened and united Iraqi federal government.
As the Berkeley Daily Planet reported after the Battle of Basra, Muqtada al-Sadr, as a nationalist, “supports a unified Iraq with a strong central government,” while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has “pushed for dismembering Iraq into separate provinces dominated by the country’s three major ethnic groups—Sunnis in the west, Kurds in the north, and Shiites in the south. Since most of the oil reserves are in the south, as is the country’s only port, whoever controls the south essentially controls 70 percent of Iraq’s economy.” Further, the provincial election law that was passed “sets up an October election in which the various provinces will vote on whether they want to remain a unified country or splinter into separate provinces.” The author stipulates that Maliki attacked Basra in an effort to win political points in driving out the militias in order to win the Basra provincial election come October, and thus, retain control over the oil reserves.
However, my problem with this hypothesis is that in the originally proposed recommendations from the Council on Foreign Relations in turning Iraq into a federal system, they state that oil laws are to be the prerogative of the federal government, not provincial. Not to mention, Maliki has slim, if any chance, of ever winning the south of Iraq. Thus, it may be more likely that in attacking Basra, it creates great resentment among Shi’as and thusly, a federal political system will be so fractured and divided that it will likely lead to separation naturally. If the Iraqi provinces separated of their own accord, it would be harder to point the finger at the US for the balkanization of Iraq, which has long been a strategic aim.   When the US Senate passed a resolution in support of a federal system as a solution for Iraq, the Arab world, and even the Iraqi Prime Minister denounced it as an attempt to divide Iraq. But, if the Iraqi Parliament passes a law for provincial elections, which could lead to fracture, it is a “break through for democracy.”
Promoting War With Iran
The Financial Times reported prior to Cheney’s trip to the Middle East that, “On Iran, the vice-president is expected to urge countries in the region to do more to isolate Tehran diplomatically and economically,” and that, “The trip comes at a time of renewed interest in policy towards Iran after a senior US military commander resigned last week because of perceived differences with the White House over the issue. Admiral William Fallon was widely considered a dovish voice on Iran and his departure sparked speculation that hawkish figures such as Mr Cheney were regaining the upper hand over the issue.” The day after Cheney visited Saudi Arabia, the government began preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors.”
The outbreak of violence in Basra delivered the perfect opportunity to continue doing what the administration has been doing for so long, blaming Iran for the violence in Iraq. Amid the heated Battle of Basra, on March 27, it was reported that, “The U.S. military stated Iran is orchestrating the Shi’ite insurgency in southern Iraq and outbreaks of violence throughout the country,” and a Defense Department spokesman stated that, “There has been a persistent and troublesome meddling by Iran.”
A month later, the US envoy to the United Nations blamed Iran “for fueling recent clashes in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and in Baghdad, saying Tehran was training and supplying weapons to militias.” Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and signatory to several PNAC documents, stated, “The recent clashes between criminal militia elements and Iraqi government forces in Basra and Baghdad have highlighted Iran’s destabilizing influence and actions.” However, what he (intentionally) failed to realize is that Sadr had declared a ceasefire long before the Battle of Basra began, from August of 2007, (interestingly at the time that Bush’s “surge” strategy in Iraq became a “success” in reducing violence), and that the Battle began when the Iraqi government attacked Sadr strongholds in Basra. Khalilzad also mistakenly blamed Iran for being a destabilizing force. Yet, it was Iran that brokered the ceasefire, making Iran the most stabilizing force in the region.
On June 6, 2008, it was reported that, “Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for airstrikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W. Bush administration official.” The report continued, “J. Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defence Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal,” and that Cheney had proposed “launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iran.” It further stated that, “The question of escalation posed by DoD officials involved not only the potential of the Mahdi Army in Iraq to attack, Carpenter said, but possible responses by Hezbollah and by Iran itself across the Middle East,” and that, “Cheney’s proposal was perceived as a ploy to provoke Iranian retaliation that could used to justify a strategic attack on Iran.”
Cheney’s plan to provoke Iran through airstrikes on camps in Iran was rebuked by the Pentagon, and the attempt at scaring the world with threats of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons was rebuked by the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of all 16 US intelligence agencies in December of 2007, which said that Iran gave up attempting to build nuclear weapons in 2003. It was even reported that Cheney tried to suppress the NIE from becoming public for over a year. It seemed as if provoking a situation within Iraq was the best option for Cheney. However, because Iran acted quickly in ending the violence and brokering a ceasefire, Cheney’s plan backfired.
Having a massive outbreak of violence in Iraq could have provided an excellent reason to justify a permanent occupation of Iraq. On April 8, 2008, a week after the fighting in Basra reached a ceasefire, the Guardian reported that, “A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country,” and that the “secret” and “sensitive” agreement was dated “March 7,” and, “is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security” without time limit.”
On June 5, it was reported by the Independent that, “A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November,” and that, “Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.” Further, “Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.” The article reported that, “The Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.”
Important to note is that, “The agreement artfully drafted by US officials will not only jeopardize the Iraqi sovereignty but will also give the US military the right to use Iraq as a launching pad for attacks against other countries, including Syria and Iran.” As of June 19, “Iraqi and U.S. officials are seeking a compromise on the pending issues over a new security agreement between the two countries.”
Understanding the anatomy of the conflict that has raged in Basra since 2003 is a pivotal study in understanding the wider “War on Terror.” The British, for nearly a century maintaining a destabilizing presence in the region, notably in Basra, have not given up their Empire’s long-standing tradition of “Divide and Conquer.” From the two SAS terrorist, to their dramatic “rescue,” the destruction of the Serious Crimes Unit and eventually, the liquidation of the Basra Intelligence Ministry, the British have maintained a position of being above the law and beyond moral restraint.
 Helen McCormack, The day that Iraqi anger exploded in the face of the British occupiers. The Independent: September 20, 2005:
 BBC, Iraq probe into soldier incident. BBC News: September 20, 2005:
 Global Research, Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”. Al Jazeera: September 20, 2005:
 Robert Fisk, When nature and man conspire to expose the lies of the powerful, the truth will out. The Independent: September 24, 2005:
 Times Online, British forces break soldiers out of Basra jail. Times Online: September 19, 2005:
 AP, British soldiers free two from Basra jail. USA Today: September 19, 2005:
 Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer, British Smash Into Iraqi Jail To Free 2 Detained Soldiers. The Washington Post: September 20, 2005:
 BBC, Iraq probe into soldier incident. BBC News: September 20, 2005:
 John Pilger, John Pilger blames Basra on the British. The New Statesman: October 3, 2005:
 Michel Chossudovsky, Britain “apologizes” for terrorist act in Basra. Global Research: October 15, 2005:
 Kim Sengupta, Senior military investigator found dead in Iraq. The Independent: October 17, 2005:
 Michael Evans, Top military investigator is found dead in Basra. The Times Online: October 17, 2005:
 Richard Norton-Taylor, Investigator found dead at Basra base. The Guardian: October 17, 2005:
 The Age, Captured SAS soldiers ‘spied on drill torturer’. The Age: October 17, 2005:
 Ian Herbert, Suicide in Basra: The unravelling of a military man. The Independent: July 31, 2006:
 Telegraph staff, British troops storm ‘execution prison’. The Telegraph: December 25, 2006:
 Thomas Harding, ‘Rogue’ police officers seized in Basra. The Telegraph: December 23, 2006:
 BBC, Iraqi police ambushed near Basra. BBC News: October 29, 2006:
 Marc Santora, British Soldiers Storm Iraqi Jail, Citing Torture. The New York Times: December 26, 2006:
 Sudarsan Raghavan, Basra Raid Finds Prisoners With Signs of Torture. The Washington Post: March 5, 2007:
 Matthew Moore, Iraqi PM criticises ‘illegal’ British raid. The Telegraph: March 6, 2007:
 Reuters, Iraqi PM orders probe of raid on Basra prison. Reuters: March 4, 2007:
 Paul Wood, Basra raids raise power concerns. BBC News: March 6, 2007: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6423691.stm
 Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks, As British Leave, Basra Deteriorates. The Washington Post: August 7, 2007:
 Kim Sengupta, British leave last remaining Basra base: What was achieved? The Independent: September 3, 2007:
 Kim Sengupta, The ‘proxy war’: UK troops are sent to Iranian border. The Independent: September 12, 2007:
 Paul von Zielbauer, British Hand Over Basra to Iraqis. The New York Times: December 16, 2007:
 Ralph Peters, Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would look. Armed Forces Journal: June 2006: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899
 The Times, Iraq: the battle for Basra. Times Online: March 28, 2008:
 Patrick Cockburn, British and US forces drawn into battle for Basra. The Independent: March 30, 2008:
 BBC, Britain and the battle for Basra. BBC News: March 30, 2008: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7321461.stm
 Patrick Cockburn, Al-Sadr calls ceasefire after six days of clashes. The Independent: March 31, 2008:
 Charles Levinson, Iranians help reach Iraq cease-fire. USA Today: March 31, 2008:
 AP, In push for political unity, Cheney visits Iraq. MSNBC: March 17, 2008: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23667595/
 Tom Coghlan, Dick Cheney tour sparks Iran war rumours. The Telegraph: March 21, 2008:
 Real News, Ex-CIA analyst on Petraeus and Cheney. The Real News Network: April 11, 2008:
 Dana Milbank and Justin Blum, Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force. The Washington Post: November 16, 2005:
 Press Office, CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE DOCUMENTS FEATURE MAP OF IRAQI OILFIELDS. Judicial Watch: July 17, 2003: http://www.judicialwatch.org/printer_iraqi-oilfield-pr.shtml
 AP, Iraq in talks with Royal Dutch Shell on joint venture deal to invest natural gas. The International Herald Tribune: June 17, 2008: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/17/business/ME-FIN-Iraq-Natural-Gas.php
 Andrew E. Kramer, Deals with Iraq are set to bring oil giants back. The International Herald Tribune: June 19, 2008: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/19/africa/19iraq.php
 AFP, Iraq presidency rejects provincial election law. AFP: February 27, 2008:
 Sholnn Freeman, Iraqi Council Clears Key Legislation on Provincial Elections. The Washington Post: March 20, 2008:
 Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:
 Michel Chossudovsky, “Osamagate.” Global Research: October 9, 2001:
 George W. Bush, Bush’s Speech on the Global War on Terror, March 2008. CFR: March 27, 2008:
 Conn Hallinan, Column: Dispatches FromThe Edge: The Story Behind the Battle for Basra. The Berkeley Daily Planet: April 11, 2008: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2008-04-11/article/29715
 Leslie Gelb and Joseph Biden, Jr., Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq. The New York Times: May 1, 2006: http://www.cfr.org/publication/10569/unity_through_autonomy_in_iraq.html?breadcrumb=%2Fbios%2F3325%2Fleslie_h_gelb%3Fpage%3D2
 Linda S. Heard, The Prophecy of Oded Yinon. Counter Punch: April 25, 2006: http://www.counterpunch.org/heard04252006.html
 Richard Perle, et. al., A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies: June 1996: http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm
 Leslie Gelb, The Three State Solution. The New York Times: November 25, 2003:
 Daniel Dombey and Andrew Ward, Oil tops Cheney’s Middle East tour agenda. The Financial Times: March 16, 2008: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d132d1e2-f3a2-11dc-b6bc-0000779fd2ac.html
 Chris Floyd, US Attack on Iran: Worried Yet? Saudis Prepare for “Sudden Nuclear Hazards” After Cheney Visit. Global Research: March 31, 2008: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8494
 Claudia Parsons, US envoy to UN blames Iran for fueling Iraq violence. Reuters: April 28, 2008:
 Gareth Porter, US/IRAN: Fearing Escalation, Pentagon Fought Cheney Plan. IPS: June 6, 2008: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42696
 Mark Mazzetti, U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work. The New York Times: December 3, 2007: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/12/03/5588/
 Gareth Porter, POLITICS-US: Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE. IPS: November 8, 2007: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39978
 Seumas Milne, Secret US plan for military future in Iraq. The Guardian: April 8, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/08/iraq.usa
 Patrick Cockburn, Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control. The Independent: June 5, 2008:
 Ismail Salami, US hidden agenda in Iraq security agreement. Press TV: June 7, 2008: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=59060§ionid=3510303
 AP, Iraq, US seek security compromise. Associated Press: June 19, 2008: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g4Sx1RDO6xF-Ggz2GsqBY6y0vq6AD91DC1TG1